With a view to avoid the typical ‘New Year Resolutions’  list, this year, on New Year’s Day, I instead chose to compile a list of goals I intend to achieve within the next 12 months. Setting up a blog with regular engaging content was of course, one of these goals. Now, shamefully, this is something I should’ve done a very long time ago, last September at the acceptable latest. And here’s why…

Currently in my fourth year of studying at University, I’ve already noticed there’s been a lot of changes taking place amongst the student population. Undoubtedly, students and the Higher Education system are only going to be subject to more dramatic changes in the upcoming months and years.

For example, through my own experience and through talking to people working in Student Unions, the amount that students go out has drastically dropped over the last few years; firstly, after Labour introduced top up fees in ’97, and then secondly as the recession began to hit in the last year or so.

The student demographic is, by its nature, a constantly shifting one and so trends within it often go unnoticed. I want to bring these trends to the foreground.

In addition, the last few months have brought student news and issues right to everyday national headlines. The government passed its proposals on higher education funding in December, to allow universities from 2012 to charge up to 9k a year in tuition fees, and planning to cut all funding to every subject except Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine.

A fiercely debated topic amongst students, I was lucky enough to interview the Vice-Chancellor of my University (Prof. Don Nutbeam, Southampton University) for SUSUtv regarding the matter, and travel to London twice to report on the student protests, including live blogging from parliament square and interviewing MPs inside parliament.

Through my role as News Editor for The Wessex Scene, by about a day after the Browne review was published I could have already recited the recommendations by heart, and after about a week I had discussed the matter with so many people I felt I was almost repeating rehearsed rants on my views regarding the report, its reception, and the government.

If I had already established a blog at that time, then I would’ve been able to share my views and experience on the topic.

Southampton students also made headlines last semester after holding a referendum asking whether or not our Students’ Union should re-join the NUS. It was an interesting time as many believed the majority of voting students would vote yes in order to gain an extra discount card, yet were surprised when the result produced in fact the opposite.

Even more controversial was Aaron Porter overheard whilst visiting campus for a live debate on the matter that he was keen students would just agree in regards to the discount card, and he was confident many would not research or understand the matter fully.

As well as this, students involved with the campaigns and student media were conscious of efforts by Union staff to prevent publishing details of testimonials from previous employers of the Union that the referendum was not being held fairly.

With a keen interest in journalism, I think at the time I would’ve appreciated, and thought that many would find interesting, an outlook for me to again share my opinion and experience in relation to these events.

Furthermore, there have been many other events and news that I have reported, found, or formed an opinion on that I would’ve like to have shared in my time so far as an over-zealous student journo.

These include my impromptu interview with David Cameron when I discovered he was in Southampton during the election campaign last year; chasing Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown around the city that week in the hope of achieving the same; attending a national film premier at my University; quizzing college students on their views on the government’s university proposals; speaking to students who occupied Millbank during the student protests and much much more…

With five weeks work experience at two different local newspapers, six months in paid editing positions with two different companies, and various temporary roles such as Interviewer for The Times Graduate Survey, I am fiercely committed to media and news. In these positions I would’ve also would have been able to benefit from sharing my experiences.

So, let’s hope that the next two years will be as exciting and eventful for me as the last two in terms of personal reporting experience and exciting times that I can share with you lovely readers. (Although sod’s law would probably dictate that I’ve now jinxed it…)

Happy New Year,

Jess

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