Sarah McInerney: From an undergrad unsure about her course choice, to making a career in journalism

In a recent piece published in The Irish Times, journalist Sarah McInerney wrote about her journey from being a Dublin City University (DCU) undergraduate unsure about her course choice, to making a career in journalism.

It all began when she decided to apply to the undergraduate journalism course at DCU during her last year of high school. She had a keen passion for writing fictional stories but had no interest in current affairs and also did not read newspapers. Thus, she was in for a rude awakening when she stepped into her first ever journalism class in DCU. In fact, she said that “one hour into a four-year journalism course, I knew I had made a terrible mistake”. Although the course was wide ranging and comprehensive, and Sarah learned a lot, she remained convinced that a career in journalism wasn’t for her.

That feeling stayed with her throughout her entire time at DCU, until she went through a six-week internship at The Sunday Tribune. In spite of her “determined disengagement from the journalism course in DCU”, she found herself automatically putting into practice the skills and methodologies learnt in school, and discovered that in fact, she had “a natural instinct for news”. By her third week into the internship, she had the astonishing revelation that she loved her job and could actually envision herself building a career in journalism. Fifteen years later, she’s worked at the Sunday Tribune, Sunday Times, Newstalk, TV3 and RTE, and has enjoyed her time in each news organisation.

Reading Sarah’s experience makes me wonder about my own students. Are students mature enough to know what he or she wants in life? Of course, many of us grew up with childhood dreams of becoming a doctor, a teacher, a firefighter and so on. But in actual fact, these dreams often change and by the time we enter the working world years later, we end up building a career in something completely different from our childhood dreams. Perhaps the takeaway here is that we all have to take time to discover ourselves and our own aptitudes, just like Sarah did. Only when we allow ourselves time to do so can we really find out what kind of job fits us best and is fulfilling for us.

If you want to read more about Sarah’s journey, click the following link:

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