"Now that I'm in journalism school, I think of journalism as..."

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of the right word for this statement. But I’m stumped. And I think that uncertainty sums up my j-school experience so far. 

I’ve always seen journalism as something you do rather than study. I got my start in reporting at my student paper, where I took on my first news story never having done an interview and unsure of how to turn on my recorder. But I stumbled through it, survived, and did slightly better the next time. That’s why sitting in a classroom, mediating on journalism, has felt, at times, indulgent.

But j-school has also been refreshing. In a daily news environment, it’s rare that you get to have critical conversations about our industry. Editors don’t have time to critique your work, and it can be intimidating to ask a question to a veteran reporter. The instructors and panelists in j-school have been so forthcoming and genuine in their intent to help us. I've left some classes feeling very appreciative. 

There’s also an optimism in j-school that’s severely lacking in many newsrooms. It’s easy to succumb to the cynicism of your older newsroom colleagues. But my j-school peers are young, bright and eager to learn. Their hopefulness is pushing me to re-think my doom-and-gloom perspective of journalism.  

Hopeful. Maybe that's the word I've been trying to think of.