A Level results day is fast approaching, and I still can’t quite believe it’s been five years since I logged onto UCAS – hands trembling, heart in my mouth – to discover I’d been accepted to study journalism at Cardiff University. It had been a dream of mine for so long and it was something I had worked incredibly hard for, so discovering that my dream would soon become reality was the most amazing feeling.
I loved my time studying at Cardiff. Admittedly, as with all experiences, there were highs and lows (read about them here), but opting to study journalism at Cardiff was undoubtedly one of the best decisions of my life. I came out with a First Class Honours degree at undergraduate level, and went on to study a Masters degree in Magazine Journalism, for which I graduated with a Distinction last month.
If you’re interested in a career in journalism, here are just some of the reasons why you should consider studying at Cardiff (I know I’m biased, but it’s srsly fab).
1. Teaching excellence
Without a doubt, every lecturer I came into contact with while studying at Cardiff was nothing but passionate about, committed to and knowledgable regarding their chosen subject. Always happy to help, with heaps of experience, and links to industry leaders, they were really approachable and gave fantastic advice. They genuinely care about the students and their experiences, and really push you to achieve the very best.
2. Fantastic opportunities to build experience
Based at the heart of Wales’ busiest city – and soon to be next door to BBC Wales when the new Central Square development opens – there are so many opportunities to gain some valuable work experience in the field, whether it’s here in Wales or across the bridge in Bristol, London and beyond. There are loads of television placements to be had, as well as many publishing and PR/marketing opportunities. While some of these brands may be smaller than your typical City companies, they can often provide far more of a rounded experience, allowing you to write, give ideas of your own and generally gain more.
The university itself also has an amazing array of student media opportunities, including a uni television channel, blogs, magazine and newspaper. These are run for and by students and many of my course mates got really involved with them. It’s a great way to enhance your skills and to keep your finger on the pulse too.
3. Opportunities to specialise in your chosen field
I started university unsure of where exactly I wanted to go in terms of my career. In the end I worked in newspaper, television and magazines before opting to study a Masters degree in Magazine Journalism, and I now work in television! The skill sets you acquire are vast, which is essential in the ever-changing media industry, but you can specialise if you so choose. The modules I could choose from ranged from advertising, politics and television, to magazines, social media and law, and there really is something for everyone. Since I studied at Cardiff I understand that the undergraduate programme has changed, but rest assured the opportunities for specialism are still as prevalent as ever.
4. A chance to channel your creativity
Admittedly, the undergraduate degree I studied had a mainly academic focus, which meant essays and textbooks over story writing and film making. Essay types varied depending on the modules you chose, but towards the end of my degree I had the chance to pitch ideas for new television programmes and magazine brands, as well as free reign over what to study in depth for my dissertation (I chose blogging, obv).
My postgraduate degree, however, was almost completely practically-focused. Aside from studying politics and law (I agree, it’s rather dull, but absolutely essential), my days were spent pitching ideas, writing, designing, photographing, filming and brainstorming. It was absolutely incredible and, while very demanding, it really fuelled my creativity and allowed me to think outside of the box per se, always with the audience as the main focus.
5. Cardiff is so much fun!
For a small-town girl like me, Cardiff was the perfectly sized city to experience university in. It’s small enough to easily navigate around, but every corner offers something new and exciting. The nightlife is incredible (and I’m still enjoying that now that I’m a “young professional (lol) living in the city), with a range of bars, clubs and live music venues to choose from. Come springtime or, as it’s known in Cardiff, Six Nations season, the city is alive with fans from across the country who are out in full force to support the team in red.
There’s also a really thriving live music scene, gorgeous independent shops and tasty restaurants, and it’s in the perfect location for sea and mountain lovers alike, with the Wales Coastal Path and the Brecon Beacons within easy driving distance. I love living and working in Cardiff. It’s friendly, fun and affordable, and I’ve made some fantastic friends and memories in the time I’ve been here!
Lots of love. xoxo