Today I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a discussion panel of graduate students from Stony Brook’s School of Journalism, and what I heard was not disappointing. Four graduate students from various years were present, each with excellent jobs and even more promising career opportunities ahead of them. The grad students each had a very different job, with some working as sports writers, web journalists, and even ethnically-driven news site reporters.

The thing that most impressed me about the grad students was their confidence. Most of them weren’t much older than myself, and already they had an air of confidence, professionalism and wisdom that I struggle to see myself having as a sophomore journalism student. I was amazed by how quickly they had transformed from students like me into professionals in the journalism world. Their success stories and even some of their missteps were inspiring, especially in a field where almost everyone has bad news for prospective journalists.

But these students said yes where others in the industry may have suggested otherwise. I was most impressed with Chris Hunt, a reporter for the Armory Track website. The oldest member of the group at 30, Chris was a down to earth and genuine person who spoke of his success with a great deal of modesty. “Confidence is something you wear,” said Chris. “So make sure it looks good.”

The grad students spoke about the hardships of the job hunt and their personal experience in what to do and also what not to do. I feel like I learned more from this one hour seminar than I have in a month’s worth of classes. Being able to listen to someone who used to be just like you only a few years ago was both inspiring and helpful to my future job hunt.

I really think that the entire School of Journalism could benefit from more seminars such as these. After hearing the grad students talk, I felt really inspired to get out there and give the journalism field everything I’ve got. And that’s a feeling that I fear I was beginning to lose.