Life of a future broke journalist

Veronica Wernicke, Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies. She also works as a contributing writer for The Seahawk. The opinions in this article are solely those of the author. Suggestions and inquires may be sent via email to [email protected] Veronica can be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. 

There are very few things that bring me as much joy as seeing my name and words hot of the press in print. Thankfully I’ve known that I wanted to be a journalist for as long as I can remember, so I had no trouble filling out my intended major on my registration form this past summer. When people ask me what I’m studying their responses are generally along the lines of “oh nice! We really need good journalists right now, but you’re going to have a hard time finding a job and making a lot of money.”

To everyone who’s told me that or plans to tell me that, thank you for your full support! In all seriousness I want to be a journalist because I absolutely love to write and I do agree that in our current state of journalist integrity and “fake news” we do need better journalists and that’s what I’m going to be. I’m also aware that communication/journalism majors don’t and probably won’t make as much as say a computer science major and I’ve come to terms with that. Maybe I should be more worried about my future income, but I would much rather do something I love and make a little less money then have a job I hate and make more money. As the saying goes “money doesn’t buy happiness.”

According to Payscale, an online salary database, the average salary of a journalist is around $40K. Meanwhile, the average salary of a computer scientist is around $76K. Trust me, I don’t want to be sitting in a chair for eight hours a day staring a screen and all the foreign gibberish accompanied with a computer science major. Even if I spend a “few hours” sitting watching Netflix, I sure as hell know that that is not the same job description.

I know a few people who chose their majors solely on how much money they’ll potentially be bringing home. Which I guess if you aren’t like me and have no idea what you want to do as a career then that isn’t the worst way to think things out. However, they better get used to sitting behind a chair in a tiny, suffocating and boring cubicle until they retire. Unless they work at Google because those offices are pretty swanky. But on the off chance that they don’t, let’s hope they don’t die of boredom at work just so they can fly to Tahiti for the weekend. Although now that I think about that…

Aside from salaries, I remember discussing my major and minor plans with my dad and coming to the conclusion that a communications major and journalism minor would be best, because journalism still falls under it and to much dismay UNCW only offers a journalism minor. My dad and I also came to the conclusion that I can also do a lot with a communications degree if all else fails, which if it does you guys better pray for me.

Even just being a freshman I do also believe my major in communications and minor in journalism will help prepare me for the ever omnipresent “adult world.” With a communications degree I will gain skills in communicating better –duh– leadership, clearly presenting things, thinking strategically, conducting research and organization. I mean the list goes on and sitting here I can just see all the future businesses –they better be newspapers– lining up to offer me a job. Meanwhile, with my minor in journalism I will have that communications concentration that will keep me sane because I love writing. One piece of advice I have is if you major in something for the money, at least minor in something you love and will keep you happy.

When you see my name alongside an article in The New York Times or some equivalent newspaper, just know I have my communications major –and journalism minor– to thank! If you take one thing away from this article –besides my obvious humor– I hope it’s that you should major in something that you enjoy and can see yourself doing for the long run, because a little more money won’t be worth a job of boredom and damnation.