How to Survive the Gateway Series

Post by Audree Nethercott, University of Oregon PRSSA Member.

Congratulations to the students who recently (and successfully) made it through Gateway I and II. The UO SOJC Gateway to Media series can be a few of the most rewarding classes you will take in college or it can be the longest two terms of your life.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was staying up until 4 a.m. in Agate Hall editing the “ums” and “buts” out of my audio to meet the 90-second project requirement. For many students, the Gateway series consists of long, lonely nights in computer labs and shamelessly asking everyone you know to participate in multimedia projects. Need some help? Here are a few ways to avoid the Gateway gloom.

1. Go to every class
Sounds obvious, right? Some students think that the lectures can be skipped occasionally. Wrong. Every single class is extremely important to your success in the series. By skipping class, you risk missing a quiz or class project, which can both affect your final grade, as well as your development of essential skills.

2. Attend the workshops
The workshops are where you learn the basics of Final Cut X and InDesign step by step. In my opinion, these workshops are more valuable than any other aspect of the class. Your instructor will guide you through mini projects that teach you the details of each program, resulting in higher quality work.

3. Use the Gateway instructors as resources
The Gateway instructors are there to help you. If week three has rolled around and your interviewee hasn’t replied back to your email, it is probably an indicator to move on to something else; this is a great opportunity to use your instructors as resources for alternate options. Visit them in office hours. They will give you ideas for a new topic and refer you to interesting people in the area. As an added bonus, you will have a chance to hear their amazing experiences, such as Dan Morrison’s stories of being embedded in Afghanistan.

4. Have a backup audio recorder
Sometimes your technology fails during an interview. Most interview subjects are busy and won’t be able to reschedule to another time. To avoid this problem, always have a backup recording device. It can be an audio recorder from the J-Cage or your iPhone.

5. Do not procrastinate
This is an obvious one, but a few graduates have told me they graduated with two degrees; the first a Bachelors of Arts and the second a “Bachelors of Procrastination.” Creative work is not something that should be rushed through the night before a deadline. Pulling an all-nighter will negatively impact your work and your grade. Plus, your instructor can tell the difference between work that is well-done and work that is rushed through.

The Gateway to Media series is supposed to teach you what is expected in the world of journalism, not inhibit your excitement for the journalism industry. Follow these tips and stay organized. It might surprise you how fun the classes really are, if you take the time to do them right.

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

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