I talked to a recent graduate yesterday and was reminded of J-school and what I learned there. The list just came to me. It's all true, although some of it is sarcastic - sorry.
Know all the rules of writing.
Know how to break those rules and do it.
Your AP style guides should never be more than an arm’s reach away.
Coffee is your friend - even when you think it’s not.
Sources and sources, friends are friends. Sources are not friends, friends are rarely ever sources.
Show don’t tell.
All the relevant information should be in the first graph. Who, What, Where, When, Why, How.
The inverted pyramid is the model for nearly every piece.
You’ll get more experience working at the school paper than in the classroom.
Emails and texts without punctuation drive me crazy.
Always ask, never assume.
Parents will never fully understand the need to write - do it anyway.
Not only is it OK to have a voice, it’s ludicrous not to.
While in school pimp yourself out to every and any publication that will take you on as an intern or part-time help.
Sleep is overrated.
To improve your craft practice every day, even if you don’t have an assignment or paper to pen.
Despite what the profs might say, all media types are integrating. Don’t integrate and be left behind.
Procrastination is in your blood - it’s not your fault.
Deadlines equate to high octane stress and that never really changes.
There is a proper way to quote a person. Follow that style.
Network from day one.
Never lift a sentence, phrase or story from anywhere. EVER.
Take a creative writing class to force you to think outside the strict journalism confines.
Late, late nights at the college paper is assumed - plan accordingly.
Other majors, especially math and nursing, will give you crap for not doing much. Remind them of their revulsion when it comes to term papers and the frequency with which you write.
That dream job is not going to be there when you graduate; but it’s not out of reach.