This entire year has been a whirlwind for me. I graduated college last May, moved to Los Angeles and started my master’s degree. I spent the majority of these last 12 months overwhelmed. I started over in a new city where I knew no one. I was not a journalism major in college and suddenly I was expected to produce professional-quality work. I’ll be honest, I spent the majority of the summer session and fall semester face down in my apartment.
When I got a second to take a breath, I realized how proud I was of what I had done. The months of stress and anxiety have left me with a ton of new skills and a lot more work I am proud to show off. At USC, the work is never easy. There is never a moment where the bar isn’t set very high for you and all your peers. There is always another assignment, another interview and another deadline (sometimes five or six). In the moment, it can be a lot to handle. But if you can get through it, you’ll realize that the experience you got at this school was priceless.
This was especially true of my time as a producer for See It Live every Thursday. I started the semester knowing practically nothing about producing and having just gotten comfortable being a reporter. I had spent a semester in the media center once a week, switching off between text, TV and radio. I had an idea of what the experience would be like, but I had no idea how much the class would allow me to grow not only as a journalist but also as a teammate who can confidently contribute to any newsroom.
Now, stuck in my childhood home having finished my last See It Live show ever, I wish I had known that at the beginning of the semester. I wish I had savored those moments in the media center, working in the same room as my whole team. But for the producers who follow us, they probably won’t have to worry about that.
For you, my biggest piece of advice is to soak up everything. The media center is a melting pot of creativity, freedom and inspiration. Everyone wants to help and support you. Take advantage of it. I can almost guarantee you will never be in a position like this again. Use this time to learn how to be a good leader. In moments where you feel stressed, lean on the people you are comfortable with. Laugh when things go wrong, and find ways to work with what you got. In the moment, everything feels like the end of the world. I can guarantee you, it’s not.
In the media center, things change fast. There are a million things going on at all times. There are almost no calm moments before 7 p.m., so when you get them, take them! But embrace the craziness instead of stress out about it. The co-producers all have their own individual jobs, but if you need to, bend those lines. Help each other out. You two (or three) are the only ones who understand what you’re going through in those moments so be there for each other.
When you get home after spending a 12+ hour day producing your show, be really thankful that you had that day. It’s certainly not the same from home. The media center days feel long and hectic, but trust me, they are always worth it.
Debriefing with your co-producers is so important. Despite the long days, my co-producer and I spent hours outside in the dark after our shows were over venting about all the craziness. Whether it’s good or bad, you should get it out with the people who understand what you’re talking about. Whether you’re close from the start or not, your dynamic with your producers is vital to the success of your shows.
Working with a team of reporters and anchors can be stressful at times. Be flexible. Stories will fall apart and be floated. Breaking news will happen a minute before your show goes live. You have to just go with it.
Most importantly, eat lunch. Leave the media center and go to the village or the campus center. Get coffee, Redbull and as much food as your heart desires. Eat it away from the halo and probably outside of Stacy’s line of sight from her office. Enjoy your food. You’re going to need it, trust me.
Appreciate what you have before it’s over because when it is, you’ll wish it wasn’t.