J202: The Worst – and Best Class I Took In College

Why J202?

After changing my major for the third time, I was confident that I had finally found the right fit. I stepped into UW-Madison’s School of Journalism on the first day back at school after Winter Break ready to take on a class with a reputation J202. The fact that the class was 5-credits was enough to intimidate some students. Regardless, it is the first class students were required to take after being accepted into the J-School.

What is J202?

The class had both a lecture led by Stacy Forester-Benedict and a discussion section, which collectively took on the responsibility of teaching over 100 students the basics of journalism and creative advertising. During the bi-weekly, 3-hour discussions, random groups of students were often asked to complete several (graded) assignments before the class was over. These assignments went into the nuances that set good journalists apart factual accuracy, AP style, and fair repercussions for making fact errors. The class did more than teach the technical elements of becoming a good journalist. It emphasized working with different types of people and personalities that don’t always jive well together.

How it helped me

This mish-mash of personalities combined with the sometimes high-stress environment of completing assignments on tight deadlines replicated real world scenarios that I was confronted with almost immediately after finishing J202 and starting my first internship at a company called The Points Guy (TPG). On my first day at TPG, I felt confident working with others to create Photoshop graphics and compose articles, all thanks to J202.

Image Citation: https://www.flickr.com/photos/european_schoolnet/29748104291

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