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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Giving Back Through Giving Advice
Friday, May 05, 2006

Wednesday was a huge night for me as I was back to my old school, Hofstra University, to speak to a room full of journalism students about breaking into magazine writing and what the life of a freelancer is like. When I first received the invite to speak I was both honored and a bit flabbergasted. Had I really come so far in five years as to go from being one of the people in the audience to being one of the people up front speaking? Apparently the answer was yes and I was not about to pass up such an opportunity. Hofstra was re-launching their school magazine, Pulse (which was called The Communicator back when I wrote for it), making it a campus-wide publication, and I was most definitely down to speak with any and all Pulse writers who wanted to hear from me.

Arriving on campus on a typically rainy day (I think it rained every other day at Hofstra for all four years I was there, and it probably still does) I walked over to Dempster Hall. I was early and wanted to catch up with a few professors. On the way to meet with one, however, I happened to catch a quick look into Studio A, the room in which I’d be speaking. There was a small table up front with a microphone and about a hundred chairs set up. I suddenly realized that this was not going to be a classroom speaking gig, this was going to be something a little bit bigger. OK, I’ll admit it, I got a little nervous…. just a little, though! There was something about the vastness of it all. When there are people in the seats the place feels much smaller and closer, but with no one in there it looked cavernous and never-ending.

I got over my nervousness quickly as I hung out with my old advisor, who was also one of my favorite professors. She told me that this event was publicized in a fairly radical way for the University, it was all done through Facebook.com. I was later told by a student that I could get a Facebook account since I have my alumni college address, but even I would think myself pretty creepy being a 27 year old guy on a site intended for college students.

The Facebook promotional technique worked as Studio A was packed to enjoy the launch party and hear from the four featured speakers, including yours truly. A picture of the cover of the latest issue of Pulse, which features Hofstra Lacrosse player, and recovering cancer patient, Nick Colleluori, hung high in the background and Colleluori was in attendance to give a quick thank you to his supporters and talk about his Headstrong Foundation. I immediately bought a “Relentless” t-shit to help support the cause.

After Colleluori and a few faculty members spoke it was time for the four featured speakers with me going second. Earlier in the evening I had been talking with one of the other speakers and we both expressed how we were a little shocked to be speaking to students so quickly into our careers. After speaking, however, it became clear that we all had something to offer in terms of knowledge and information. I told a few stories, including my infamous fake press pass story (no, I’m not giving that one out here!) and passed on as much advice as I could. I was told by a former professor of mine that I had the pull quote of the night (a pull quote is the quote from an interview that an editor accentuates in the layout of the article) in response to a question about whether it was better to get a masters or get to working after graduating. I said that I’d been interviewed by a lot of editors and I’ve never been asked if I have a masters but I’ve always been asked for clips. In retrospect I even surprised myself with how eloquently I put that.

All in all it was a great time. Hey, what could be bad about being told you’re good at what you do? I had some of those points reiterated to me on Thursday morning in my email inbox when multiple professors hit me to tell me how much I added to the event, one even dubbed me a good role model (I’m a role model? Yikes!). So not only did I have a great time speaking with the future leaders of journalism, I also, apparently, kicked some booty doing it! Additionally, the speaking gig opened my eyes to some other potential avenues I could go down in life, including maybe even teaching journalism someday. How’s Professor Adam B sound?

posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:39 AM  
  • At 11:42 PM, Anonymous ariel said…

    I agree, it would be slightly weird if you were on facebook!
    the whole discussion about getting a master's degree was honestly the best part of the night for me... I have been struggling with the whole idea of graduate school because everyone around me is talking about it like it is a given for them. I have felt that not only is it something I don't necessarily need, it's something I don't want... I really want to be done with school so I can just start doing. if I had the opportunity to get my master's while I was working without going into serious debt, I would definitely consider it, but at this point it was very nice to hear that it wasn't a definite requirement! thanks again for visiting hofstra and imparting your knowledge on us.

  • At 8:24 AM, Blogger Adam said…

    I think the idea of a Master's Degree is something everyone struggles with. It seems to be everyone's answer to any question regarding work. That being said I have a few stories, some pro some con, regarding the Masters issue.

    My cousin went back to school in his late 30's to get an MBA (something he was interested in). He aced every class and it was great for him. He later suggested it to me but in all honesty I'd hang myself if I was in a business class.

    A friend of mine was told he couldn't get hired for a job without a Masters, but that if he took the classes he then wouldn't have the experience they were looking for. So plenty of companies really have no idea what they want.

    Some companies will pay for your schooling if you're working for them. THAT'S the best kind of hook up. I'd find something to get a Masters in IF it was being paid for by someone else AND I was already getting a salary.

    Personally, I think there's a lot to be said for living life. I know two young people with Master's Degrees, they're both nearing thirty (when did I suddenly consider that young?) and they both still live at home with their mothers. On the other hand I know people with Bachelor's, Accociate's, and even no degrees who are living on their own.

    For what we do a Master's is non-essential. It's one of those things that you can get later in life if you feel so inclined or want to make a drastic career move. It's also a lot easier to do once you've been out there and lived life.

    Thanks for readin!

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