The toughest question to answer for college journalists

It never fails.

Whenever I speak to a group of young journalists or communications students, I always receive a question or two that either stump me or touch me emotionally.

This past week, I had the pleasure of conducting a leadership forum for scholars of the Posse Foundation. The organization provides scholarships and support for up-and-coming leaders who, as they put it, “might have been overlooked by traditional college selection processes.” I spoke at the winter conference for Posse’s Atlanta chapter, spending nearly an hour with a few dozen students interested in communications as a whole.

I offered my advice for how to get ahead, answered important questions about how to network and build a strong portfolio, and had a genuinely interesting back-and-forth with a group of students who, I believe, will be quite successful in their chosen fields.

But, I found, the toughest questions they asked had nothing to do with how to “make it” or “get ahead”.

They dealt with how to balance one’s life in the process.

First, a student asked the following: “Since you work in such a stressful business, how do you still manage to have a life and not let work run your life?”

It’s a great question — and a difficult one to answer.