In a field of few

It has now been just over a year now since I graduated from Thompson Rivers University, along with 25 other students.

It has now been just over a year now since I graduated from Thompson Rivers University, along with 25 other students. After two years at various other institutions we all landed at the journalism program in Kamloops for the final two years of our bachelor degrees.

I recently had dinner with three of my former classmates, and, as expected, we spent much of our time reminiscing and talking about those we went to school with.

As we went down the list of students, discussing what they are up to now, we were amazed at the number of students actually pursuing a career in the journalism field.

You may be surprised to hear that out of 26 students in the journalism program, we counted only five working in the industry, myself and two of my dinner guests included.

Wade and Shereen, whom I was dining with, both work at newspapers in Kelowna, our favourite Newfy friend Danielle is working at a radio station in St. John’s, and our classmate Jessica is working at a community newspaper in Rocky Mountain House, Atla.

Less than 20 per cent of the 2010 journalism graduates are working as journalists. What would happen if only 20 per cent of graduating nurses went to work in the health care field, or only 20 per cent of teaching students went on to teach? Or what if only 20 per cent of law students… actually… I think our society might survive that one.

After my second summer spent at The Morning Star, I am enjoying the profession as much as ever. But I am very aware of how difficult it is for young reporters to find full-time work. And for those unwilling to relocate, it is impossible.

Every graduating class, from every profession, every year, I’m sure, looked out at the job market and felt a wave of panic. Maybe it’s just a rite of passage that every generation has to go through.

I was fortunate enough to find a full-time position in Golden, B.C., where I will be moving to in a matter of days. But other grads have chosen to pursue other opportunities.

One student inadvertently backed into her life’s calling, and now does respite care for children with disabilities. Two have began careers in public relations, which relates to our education but was not its primary focus.

Three are continuing their education in areas as diverse as media, teaching and medicine. And the rest are working in various jobs, most of which have absolutely no relation to our two years spent in journalism school.

I firmly believe that no education is ever a waste, but I have to wonder how much longer mine will be relevant in my life. I would love to live in my hometown of Kamloops eventually, but the odds of getting a permanent position at one of the city’s two newspapers are slim to none.

However, despite my seemingly grim prospects on the future job front, I have no regrets about my choice of profession. If I end up back in school in a few years following a different path, that will be OK. At least I get to spend a good chunk of my 20s doing something I really enjoy.

I have too many friends who made the “practical” decision, went into high-demand careers, and are already stuck in jobs they don’t like.

I am happy my journalism school friends are pursuing what are probably more practical careers. But most of all, I am happy that I am part of that 20 per cent.