From Summer Boot Camp To Your Fall Semester: How To Get By, The Right Way

From Summer Boot Camp To Your Fall Semester: How To Get By, The Right Way

A 6-week summer boot camp is something that is required of some of the majors at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. When you think of boot camp, you might get a little terrified, because it’s boot camp. You think of an intense time with professors and professionals. Well, if that’s what you’re thinking, then yes you’re right. But don’t be afraid. I just finished the Broadcast & Digital Journalism summer boot camp about 6 weeks ago and there are three main things I learned to get through it without losing your mind:


  • Time Management: This is something that most people coming out of high school and coming into college have a hard time coming to terms with. You remember in elementary school when we were forced to buy and have a planner? Yeah, well, being in graduate school it’s the same thing. The six weeks of boot camp are something that you have to stay on top of every day. You’re in two classes every day and if you miss one beat, you’re out. Purchasing a planner or even an app on your phone can really help you stay on top of everything you need to do by the day and hour, so you don’t fall behind. You have two different teachers with two different styles, and there¬†are things you have to be mindful of. If you can look at that planner with your notes and/or Post-It notes, you can be okay and not get caught up.


  • Resilience: ¬†Being resilient means you know how to “bounce” back and recover from a loss of some sort. In boot camp, you will be calling probably more than 15 people a day to try getting a story. Most people will deny you access to coming and speaking with them or even getting a phone interview. You might have only 45 minutes left to get an interview, write a script, edit your SOT(s) and be ready for your live radio newscast, and you have nothing. But you have to keep pushing. Keep calling. Someone is willing to give you something. One time, I had 30 minutes to come up with an idea after calling people from 8:30 that morning…It was then 3:15 and my team had to go live at 4. I got a phone call at 3:30 and was writing my script as I was doing my interview. I finished right at 3:50 and was in the booth at 3:55. Got an A on the story that day. It’s all about never giving up.


  • Creativity: To make your professor proud and to make your demo reel stand out, be creative in your story pitches. The professors in Newhouse want stories that haven’t already been done before. So, you have to think outside of the box sometimes. Find a missing portion or the most interesting fact within a typical story and expand on that. You are informing the public about something that they might not have known anything about and it also might be something that is “hard” and big news.


Lastly, which I feel goes without saying is: asking many, many, many questions. Ask questions to your professor about something you may not understand. Ask questions about something you might be interested in doing. Ask questions. They cannot improve without the help of the student. Also, you never know when another one of your classmates might need help and your questions could help them move along with everyone else. Taking the initiative to help yourself could also help another.

All in all, I learned a lot of practical skills to be a better student and a better journalist, in 6 intensive weeks with two great professors. Take advantage of the time you have in boot camp because in the Fall it can really help you stay ahead of the curve. Being prepared and ready beforehand is always a good idea, so hopefully you found my article helpful!

Alexis Scott
Alexis Scott is a graduate student at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and studying Broadcast Digital Journalism. She hopes that when done at Syracuse University, she will be a reporter and multimedia journalist for a media/TV company. You can follow her on Twitter @ livewlex to have updates and follow her journey through graduate school.

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