My First Year in the Real World (as a Journalist)


This weekend I could finally feel myself thawing out, after a brutal and unnecessarily long North Dakota winter. However, the change of the seasons has prompted a bit of self reflection. This May marks one year after earning my undergraduate degree at Emerson College.

As I scrolled through various social media platforms this past week, and saw many smiling friends in graduation caps, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia that prompted this rambling.


From the moment I crossed the stage and was handed a piece of paper, a sense of accomplishment mingled with panic began to set in. I had many, and I mean many, moments of self doubt.

I spent a great deal of time burning DVDs and sending out resumes to various job postings, with little to no response. Until one day, when I reached out to a fellow EC alum who showed my resume reel to her news director.


A few days later I had a contract for a reporting and anchoring job, in North Dakota. Within a few weeks I moved out of the city I loved so much, packed my brand new car and headed for a part of the country I never thought I would see.


Since that epic road trip with my Dad, in which neither left the other behind at a rest stop, which I was positive would happen, I’ve experienced a variety of “a ha” moments.

I’ve learned that sometimes it really is all about who you know.

I found my first job through a wonderful anchor, who happened to have the same internship I was working at when I graduated. It was wonderful to ask her about her job hunting experience, and what started as a simple conversation about her journey, ended with the beginning of my career.

I’ve learned that while it’s important to make a budget, it’s much more important to stick to it.

I have this theory that there are two kinds of people in the world, spenders and savers, and I am certainly the former. Yet I am working on changing my ways which starts by making a budget and then sticking to it. Sure it isn’t fun to say no to happy hour, or a new necklace but saving for emergencies is an important cushion to have when you’re living on your own.

I’ve learned that working out is key.

While living in the city of Boston, I waked absolutely everywhere. The joke about walking up hill both ways was a reality for this Beacon Hill girl, so making the switch from running and walking outside to the gym hasn’t been the easiest. But, whatever you do, get moving! It helps your mood, and I always feel much more accomplished after breaking a sweat at the gym!

I’ve learned that snail mail is a wonderful thing. 

Social media is great, but there is something so wonderful about getting a letter in the mail that isn’t a bill. Plus postcards are less than a dollar so get the stamps ready!

I’ve learned that it’s ok to feel lost.

I would be lying if I said this past year has been easy. There have been nights I have felt so homesick, that it would hurt. I had moments of self doubt where I would question myself, and that is completely normal. No one is expected to have everything figured out by the age of 23.

And lastly, I’ve learned that the best days of your life are behind you only if you want them to be. 

My college years were four wonderful years packed with memories, friendships and life lessons, but I couldn’t imagine myself reliving those years in the past 365 days. As you move on to your next phase in the “Real World”, whether it be freelancing, graduate school or a full or part time job, never stop dreaming. Order a subscription to the local paper, read a new book each month, pick up a new hobby, sell everything you learn on EBAY and join the circus if you want, but try and learn as much as you can.


Now is the time to seize the day, or seize the night, and never stop dreaming.

Xoxo Mary Cate


2 thoughts on “My First Year in the Real World (as a Journalist)

  1. This is so inspiring. I’m graduating college in three weeks with a degree in communication and an emphasis in journalism. Some of my older friends have moved after graduation for jobs in the past few years. Sometimes it’s what you need to do. I find it really brave and I hope I’m brave enough to do that too.

    • Hi ecobrien! So glad that you enjoyed the post. Best of luck to you after graduation! Post grad is a thrilling time, just be sure to enjoy the ride.

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