I am struggling to recall the exact moment that I decided that I was going back to university. It was definitely in the depths of unemployment, probably bang in the middle of a frustrated stupor, but I know what triggered my Oprah-esque, ‘a-ha’ moment.
Sipping on some Um Bongo whilst the council estate sounds of N-Dubz oozed from a pirate radio station, I figured that there had to be more to my sad existence.
Maybe it was because I got bored of the constant rejection and the failure to land even a part time job, but the lure of lecture theatres, exams, student discount and, of course, group work, proved to be too much.
For me, journalism is the best profession in the world. The self-satisfaction of landing a splash, uncovering sleaze, documenting social change and the general unpredictable nature of the job was, and still is, massively appealing.
I thought I knew what kind of journalist I wanted to be – one of those rock hard, whisky drinking, shouty/sweary crime correspondants responsible for exposing Mafia bosses, big time Yardies and child slavery rings.
It was in June 2009 that I first felt a burning desire for one last swan song. For a year or so, I tried to work out if there enough educational mileage in me to make that journey.
On the contrary, Masters degrees never sit well with poor people; the thought of having to spend small fortunes to land an entry job is mind-boggling and ridiculous.
But one day in February, I attended an opening evening at a revered journalism school in central London and my staunch point of view was over-turned.
Magazines: Something for everyone. Source: Ping Mag
Surrounded by the posh, the great and the good, it was clear why these Masters degrees are frequented by the privileged; the unrivalled contacts, the unparalleled access to the top movers and shakers, the professional kudos…
The magazine course leader was authoritative, knowledgeable and her passion for her programme reeled me in. Magazines have always been a huge part of my life: from Play Days and dancing Lizzie (for me, she was the first black cover model, way before Naomi), to Smash Hits, to The Face – the tome du jour for youth culture – to the guerrilla publications and supplements that I devour today.
It made sense. The possibilities are endless. The design side massively appeals to me, as does writing world class features and learning about the business of magazines.
The myth is that a Masters in journalism is akin to a kind of finishing school for the Redbrick set, but I think I’ve got as much a right to be there as my well-off contemporaries.
After submitting a rushed application, attending an interview where I was mauled for wanting to have been a News Editor in a previous life and agonising over the outcome – I got a place on the course.
September 19 is a date that is circled on my calendar. You can call me a sarcastic magazine mogul in waiting.
♫ D-Train – ‘You’re The One For Me.’