Last week I joined the features department at The News for a three-day work experience placement.
Surrounded by a committed, enthusiastic team, I learned vast amounts as the days progressed.
It was a busy, exciting and challenging atmosphere, but I loved it.
I was thankful for the opportunity and am now encouraged even more to pursue a career in journalism.
I interviewed various people on the phone and face-to-face, as well as writing small articles for supplements including Family Life. Most importantly, I met people, built relationships and created contacts.
One of my most enjoyable experiences of the week was going to Staunton Country Park, shadowing a journalist and interviewing visitors at the farm.
It was brilliant to see so many families enjoying themselves.
I also enjoyed feeding the animals!
One important thing I learned about journalism was that even though it is very challenging and competitive, it is full of opportunity and is never the same.
With anything you may wish to pursue – whether it’s journalism, teaching, music or maybe even politics – do what you can to gain experience and get a real taste for what is out there.
Moreover, if you’re a young person who finds themselves ‘stuck in the middle’, unsure of what you wish to do, build yourself up a variety of experience and then make your decisions.
In the past, I have written about various issues young people face, one of them being minimal opportunity for young people, school-organised work experience aside.
This continues to be true, although if you really do have the drive to do something and be somewhere, make it happen.
There is nothing more upsetting than seeing young people take to heart what people may say that isn’t necessarily true.
I say stay strong, remain full of determination, succeed in whatever you wish to do and know that one day, it will happen.
The last thing that may be on your mind is to volunteer your time for free.
But showing a willingness to do things for free suggests to others that you are passionate about the area in which you aspire to work.
Work experience is often seen as important as academic achievement.
That just proves the value it really does have.