When people find out I work as a TV news reporter, they often ask where I went to college.
I tell them: “Northwestern University; the Medill School of Journalism.”
Then they ask: “Did you like it there?”
I tell the truth: “Absolutely.”
Then, assuming we do not start talking about the always-promising Northwestern football team, they usually say something along these lines:
“That’s a great school for journalism. You must have learned a lot there, right?”
I always give the short answer: “Yes.”
But I always wind up thinking later about how the long answer to that question is far more complicated.
This week marks a big anniversary for me. Ten years ago, I finished my last class at Northwestern. I graduated in June 2003, and I started working at my first TV station in July, but I left Northwestern’s lovely Evanston, Ill. campus in March, carrying all the ambition and eagerness expected of an aspiring journalist.
For a long time after I left, I thought mainly about what I had not learned — what I could not possibly have learned in my four years at journalism school.