As an out-of-state student, I constantly get asked why I chose UF. Aside from the obvious warm weather, I knew very early on that I wanted to work in communications. When it was time to start thinking about colleges, I did some research on which universities had exceptional communications programs. It seemed that UF wound up on most ranking lists.
Once I actually enrolled, I met with super informative advisors who discussed my future with me and helped me get involved immediately. It seemed like no matter how specific your career aspirations in media were, there was something at UF’s CMIR that could help you. By my second semester I was an on-air broadcaster for WUFT’s radio reading service and was a part of the extracurricular “First At Five” that taught about the workings of a television station.
It was by my sophomore year that I was taking radio classes and learning how to write for broadcast. When I had my first shift in the newsroom, I’ll never forget being told that UF’s newsroom will probably be the nicest one I ever work in. It was full of state-of-the-art equipment and technology and mentors that were enthusiastic to teach. During my radio shifts I learned the process of researching, writing and producing a story. There was a lot of trial and error involved, but that was all part of the experience. Over the summer after my sophomore year, I got involved with ESPN Gainesville. I had always taken an interest in sports but was never too informed about the ones I wasn’t involved in, so it was really cool to learn how to report on baseball and football for online articles and radio stories. I liked working at ESPN Gainesville so much that I continued it throughout the duration of my college experience.
My junior year is when I started taking TV classes. I learned how to use fancy-looking cameras and edit my footage with adobe premiere. By the time TV shifts started, I felt like a real reporter. I dressed like one, interviewed like one, filmed like one, wrote like one ETC. It is so crazy to me to see how my storytelling had improved from my first (what I should really only call) attempt.
There are so many good things to say about UF’s Center for Media Innovation and Research. I especially appreciate how the CJC had its own separate career day to connect student with media employers near and far. The TV and radio shifts, although long and sometimes daunting, really prepared me most for what I will probably doing five days a week for the rest of my life. Probably, though, what I appreciate most about UF’s telecommunications program is its versatility. I thought to be a reporter all you had to do was look pretty and read a script. BOY was I wrong. There is so much more to it! I feel like I now have foundations to work in front and behind the camera and on multiple platforms such as radio, web and TV. The CMIR really sets students up for success for a career in media and I am so grateful to have been able to learn from it.