"There is a tide in the affairs of men / Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune / But omitted and the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries / On such a full sea are we now afloat / And we must take the current when it serves / Or lose the ventures before us."
My friends and I presently find ourselves in exactly such a situation. Our two-year journey is nearing its end. For most of us the next six months of this experience will determine where we can hope to see ourselves in the next five years in terms of our careers. But it is left to the individual, like all those before us, to seek – and find – opportunities that will propel us forward and grab hold of them with the ferocity of an enthusiastic lion cub hoping to impress its mother on its first solo hunt.
We must ponder all available options and weigh the possible consequences of every action or decision. "Do I study further, or do I trust that I am as prepared and learned about my chosen profession as lessons in a college classroom will ever do?" We find ourselves in a time when, even now after two years of studying Journalism and learning the principles, anything can change and send us spiralling in a completely different direction.
Some of us have already gone out into the field and have had the pleasure of seeing our own names in print. Some have realised the true pressures of a life in journalism: the stressful high-strung atmosphere of the news room, the long hours spent chasing a story, the non-negotiable need for factual accuracy, the realities of the media's obligations to the public and the next-to-no-time deadlines under which one is expected to submit their finished product for publication.
Yet some others do not feel ready to jump into the chaos that is journalism. While others are sure of their abilities and see their path clearly before them, there are just as many of us who remain uncertain of where we can expect to find ourselves professionally in the space of the next two years. It is a daunting thought when we must admit to ourselves that nothing is written is stone – there are no guarantees for any of us in this 'cut-throat' business... The future will be determined by our determination to succeed and our refusal to take any word that resembles a 'no' as the final say on whether or not we can fulfil our dreams or achieve our goals.