Two weeks ago, the class was greeted by several UAlbany alumni who have progressed in the field that many of us in the class hope to enter, and succeeded. Ian Pickus, Katie Roberts, and Nick Reisman sat in a row at the front of the lecture room, smiles pasted onto their faces as the hordes of college freshman came into the classroom and proceeded to gawk at the guests. I was greatly interested in hearing what they had to say, mainly because these were young people who had achieved what I aspire to excel in one day.
Professor Bass introduced the three adults, and I leaned forward as the first person began to speak. Nick Reisman was part of the graduating class of 2007, a mere four years ago. He divulged information on his career, beginning with his participation in writing activities in high school, to gradually writing for the Albany Student Press when he got here. Writing for the ASP was one of the first goals I had upon entering the school as well, so I was relieved to hear that I was on the right track. However, his life took a turn when he realized that instead of print media, where he had spent time writing a local paper called Gazette, he yearned for the spotlight. He turned to television, and now works for Capital Tonight as a reporter. Reisman let us know that journalism skills come with time and experience, letting on that he developed a nose for interesting news after covering stories time after time; seeking a lead becomes almost instinctual.
My ears perked up when Katie Roberts informed us that she transferred from SUNY Albany to Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication; I had also applied to the school during my senior year, and did not get in-however, I had plans to reapply. She explained how she initially had a penchant for writing fictional stories, but later discovered that, after taking an intro to journalism course, that she was also fond of writing “real” stories, or news stories. By then I was sitting up so straight in my seat that my spine nearly cracked: this woman was voicing my own reality, for I preferred fiction writing as well. She voiced some of my main concerns, such as journalism becoming a dead career, but reassured us that online journalism was alive and kicking. Fortunately, I had been using the internet since I was six and blogging since ten, so the internet better be ready for the professional Tania.
Ian Picchus was on the quieter side, with a shy, boyish grin that didn’t match the loud writing style one needs to write the sports section of the paper that he engages in. His story involves growing up in the peaceful town of Saratoga Springs, which is nearby Albany, and pursuing both English and Journalism degrees while studying at UAlbany. His interest in writing about sports initially began when he wrote for ASP, and later continued to do so, among other writings.
What fascinated me the most about these young pictures of success was precisely that-how young they were. They were only in their late twenties to early thirties, but had already reached high points in their careers. It raised my spirits a bit because these people were once just as normal a student as I am now, and gave hope to my somewhat irrational fears that I would not make it.
Before the class ended, the three young professionals gave us parting advice: Roberts told us to practice various types of writing, such as investigative and political; Picchus advised us to pay attention to government and politics, as citizens must be informed in order to avoid being deceived. Reisman had to leave early because duty called, but said to set aside time to write enterprise stories.
Far from being dull, as I had initially expected, the session with the graduates turned out to be informative and helpful, and I plan to utilize everything I learned.