Coronavirus Dilemma as a Student

By : Armani Baker

         My spring 2020 semester has been unpredictable, stressful, insightful and fun. Although I learned a lot this semester, the main thing that comes to my mind is time management. WHEW! To begin with, I spent Monday-Thursday evening on campus and Friday-Sunday at home in Chicago. I wanted to keep my part-time job in Chicago while still being a full-time college student. Who does that? This girl does. However, I've always chosen to do multiple jobs and or internships while in school. No Days off'  Not only did the miles begin to add up on my car, but my homework began to increase. Therefore, I had no choice but to figure out time management. On the first day of class, we received the syllabus and on that same day I planned out how I was going to complete all of the assignments while having this loaded schedule. Once I realized that news updates would probably take more time to complete than packages, I made a goal to complete both of my news updates before spring break. I am happy to share that I completed my goal. 

         The first assignment that I completed was the news update #1. Within this new update I completed a VO about a campus recreation cooking class and a VOSTVO about the 'Art with A Queen workshop' at the Spurlock Museum. I absolutely loved shooting both the cooking class and the art workshop, because I love food and colors. There were so many opportunities to get close-up and medium shots of colors, food and interaction within these projects. I am pretty confident when shooting footage. Self-confidence is important when completing assignments because self-doubt just wastes time, and there is no extra time in broadcast journalism (at least in my opinion.) When you exude self-confidence, your work will get done much faster' having a 'just do it' mentality is very effective. However, I still struggle with putting all of my footage together without the content looking choppy and this is evident in the final product of my news update #1. 

         The second assignment that I worked on was package #1. This package was about the online black-owned business directory 'Buy Black Chambana.' Completing this package was a struggle because I shot all three of my interviews in two days and edited the entire package the morning of because by the time that I arrived at Richmond Studios, the lab was full for the night, due to the labs in Greg Hall under construction. So, there I was that Thursday morning, editing up until the time of the show. I was beyond overwhelmed because I chose to take an opportunity to work All Star Weekend in Chicago as a production assistant for two different companies, making my time on campus very limited to finish this package. I encountered other challenges besides time, trying to finish this assignment. I struggled with finding sources, editing with a clean flow and adding 'file' for courtesy to clips that I didn't shoot before the start of the newscast began. I wish I would have shot two of my interviews in better locations but shooting interviews in between classes doesn't allow you much time to make executive decisions. A piece of advice I would give to future student is to allow yourself more than two days to complete a package and always have a back- up source in mind. Dr. Collins expressed to the class to always have a Plan A, B, and C and I will continue to apply this mentality to my work ethic. 

         The last assignment that I completed before COVID-19 interrupted my last semester as an undergrad was my news update #2. As I stated above, I like to shoot stories that I know will have a lot of color and human interaction. Within this update, I shot a VO about the campus student elections and a VOSOTVO about Hamamatsu Girls Day at the Japan House (used in the 5pm newscast.) Well, this day was overwhelming as well because I had two phone interviews which took away time from me learning how to do playback for the show. Luckily, I have amazing peers and classmates that helped me learn playback in less than 10 minutes. Which brings me to the point of how important collective collaboration is in broadcast news. If it were not for my peer's assistance and help, I would not have been able to successfully fulfill my role for playback. Another piece of advice I have for future students is always be willing to help your classmates and do not be afraid to ask for help.

         Let's talk about Coronavirus' I noticed that my journey as a student online is completely different than a student in person. I always complete homework at the communications library because it is very difficult for me to focus on academic work at home. I do not think I have completed a homework assignment at home since high school.  The days go by much faster at home' and I developed a new skill of setting alarms for everything such as to drinking water, calling family or friends, relaxing and to complete homework. While completing work remotely, I have to set alarms on my phone in order to stay on top of homework. If I do not set alarms, I will easily finish a Netflix series and lose a day of work. Another piece of advice would be to set alarms during quarantine, it really helps!

         It's the end of the semester and I am most proud of my ability to complete one package, both of my news updates, two VO's and two VOSTVO's all before spring break. 

I am most proud of my ability to balance so much at once and still be able to get my work complete in this semester. I will remember all of our long Wednesday nights in Richmond Studios editing until midnight, ordering dinner together and our ability to help each other get our work done before the 1pm Thursday deadline. Our teamwork as a class was really remarkable, I have never had such a supportive community of classmates in my entire college experience, and I am very grateful for this experience. 

Coronavirus Dilemma as a person/family member/friend

         When I first heard about the virus, I relied heavily on my faith to get through this crisis. I continued to pray and have faith that everything would be okay. Fast forward to the day we received the email that classes would move to online format, I was like okay this is going too far'what is happening? My feelings about my faith have remained the same, but my feelings about this process are just nonexistent at this point. I'm tired of being on lock down but I do plan to follow the rules and stay in-doors. 

         Technology has played a major role in my journey of quarantine. I am blessed to be home with my family, as this is definitely a privilege during this crisis. However, I do not have the privilege of seeing some of my closest friends that I would usually see almost every other weekend. Our hang outs have transitioned to zoom calls and active group chats. 

Coronavirus Dilemma as an aspiring professional journalist

          Considering we are facing a pandemic-unlike other semesters, I noticed that a lot of working professionals and students in the field are offering free webinars to help people stay motivated during this crisis. For example, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel 'Journalism: Who is telling our story?' at #TheNextStopCon a free digital conference that promotes horizontal networking for college students from underrepresented communities. I also noticed that for the first time in my collegiate career I do not have a detailed plan for my future. I normally plan out my entire year as an aspiring journalist. Now, I have no clue what my future will look like. Unfortunately, my summer internship was cancelled, and I was devasted. This was the second year that I applied for this position and I finally got it. I know that many other students have lost their summer internships due to COVID-19 and I hope that other opportunities become available as we have all worked so hard to get these opportunities. 

         I think I viewed everything that was happening like everyone else. I experienced so many losses such as graduation, my internship, my apartment on-campus, human interaction and the list goes on. I had so many plans that quickly became extinct due to this virus. Although all of these losses hurt, I am so grateful to have my health and the fact the people that I love are still healthy and alive. This virus has reminded me that I am truly blessed. Seriously, if you are reading this right now' you are blessed. 

         As I move forward in my life, I learned that there is always a resolution to conflict if you plan ahead of time. I learned this from simply being a student in this class, there were so many moments where myself and others had to improvise in order to get the job done and I plan to keep this mentality throughout my life and future career. Overall, Journalism 445 can be overwhelming, but it is an incredible experience that will not only challenge you, but it will build a strong work ethic and a supportive community of peers that truly care about each other and the work that you produce. 

With love, light and HOPE

-Armani 

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