Ah, Stony Brook University School of Journalism, how you make my life a living hell and I pay you for it amazes me.
There are definitely things I would change about the program.
To begin with, the journalism requirements demand 127 credits to graduate—only two credits behind the most demanding being engineering. This is very doable if you plan and overload at least one semester but for the most part, it takes absolute devotion to the SOJ. Luckily, I came into the program with this in mind and have overloaded multiple semesters, which may be the only reason I am on track to graduate. I believe the program as a whole demands students take way more classes than the sufficient amount to prepare students for the real world. I am currently in my third year and am taking all under-division 300-level classes. In order to get into these classes I had to take numerous prerequisites, which, lets be honest, I barely even remember. That’s not to mention the required labs that did not count toward credit. The coursework is demanding enough. At least give us a fighting chance.
Secondly, in my grandiose vision for the SOJ, I would love to see school have it’s own building. In the few years since it’s birth, the SOJ has grown immensely both physically and professionally. I came to Stony Brook purely because of the SOJ. This program is one of the best in the nation. We have unbelievable access to so many resources like experienced professors and proximity to one of the most influential cities in the world all with the benefit of an intimate learning environment. Knowing my professors individually and getting the attention I need to better both my writing and multimedia has been one the biggest assets of my experience here. But, I sought out the school. If we had a facility echoing our city neighbors’ architectural aesthetic, we could take this program to a whole new level. Not to say our current facilities are anything less than impressive, but I would like to see a designated space for the SOJ.
Bringing it back to earth for a moment, my last suggestion is to simply incorporate alumni more. I know this is often a matter of communication and that a lot of alumni go their separate ways after graduating. Yesterday, I found out a JRN 490 student is the web editor at Veranda—a publication I have dreamed of working for. I would have never known this especially after she graduates in the spring if I had not seen her working on the site in the Newsroom. This is someone that may be a huge asset in my career and she was sitting in the same seat I sit in! Students who attended the Washington D.C. trip raved about connecting with alum working there. Every so often it helps to see people at the top of mountain when the climb seems impossible.
Overall, I have really enjoyed my time here. Have I wanted to quit and change majors? Yes. But, the SOJ has pushed me further than anything has ever done and it has helped me grow as a journalist and as a person. As a customer of this institution, I can say I do feel like I am getting my money’s worth out of my experience here even though it may have cost me a few years down the road.
Photo by Wasim Ahmad.