My first week at The Daily Nebraskan, I was on the brink of quitting. After turning in my first photo assignment, one of my editors yelled at me, claiming I had staged the photos.
Because of this, I was ready to end my short career with The Daily Nebraskan. It was my first time living away from home. Classes were different. Friends were different. Life was different.
As a freshman, I was doing something that was totally out of my comfort zone. I didn’t stage the photo, and I didn’t know the photo had to be horizontal for it to be worthy of publishing (it doesn’t).
I met with a friend who had already worked at The Daily Nebraskan for a year. I asked for advice on whether or not I should keep pursuing this job, and she introduced me to something I like to call the art of faking it until you make it.
One doesn’t teach journalism. One learns journalism. The only way to learn journalism is to do journalism. This is where the art of faking it until you make it comes in.
The art of faking it until you make it is fairly simple, but it comes with a huge benefit. It’s essentially pretending to know what you are doing in a situation that is out of your comfort zone. Utilizing this skill, I have been able to rise through the ranks of The Daily Nebraskan.
Now, I am not only a senior, but I am also the senior photo/video editor at The Daily Nebraskan.
Being a senior along with holding this position has forced me to push myself while also looking back on my time at The Daily Nebraskan. I have to pretend like I know what I am doing and that I am OK with this being my final year at The Daily Nebraskan.
If we’re being honest, it feels like a sinking ship. I am the captain (proceed to imagine me wearing a captain’s hat) and everytime I patch a hole, two more form.
With the senior editor position, I view my job as creating a space where my photographers can learn and grow.
Within the freshmen specifically, I see myself. Tiny, baby, freshman Elsie just trying to get by and do what I want to do — journalism.
Long story short, I had no idea what I was doing. Even though I was inexperienced, I was trying to learn what it means to be a journalist.
Similar to freshman me, they are learning gradually. All of them are doing things most freshmen wouldn’t even think about doing. They are trying to learn what it means to be a journalist.
Looking back at my first week at The Daily Nebraskan, I am really glad that I didn’t quit. My life would be totally different without The Daily Nebraskan. My life would be totally different if I didn’t learn about the art of faking it until you make it.
You can take all the journalism classes you want, and while the information you learn there is useful, it’s when you go out and actually do journalism that you learn.
With that, find comfort in the fact that it’s OK to not know what you are doing. It’s OK to fake it until you make it. I did.