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Your Future Career 2020

How my unconventional route into media taught me to take risks

Image: Tova Krentzman

Yomi Adegoke (pictured)

Author and Women’s Columnist, The Guardian

When it came to choosing a career path, I decided that my parents probably knew best, and they were sure I’d be a great lawyer, since I was so argumentative. What they didn’t account for was the endless reading of case law and the copious amounts of Latin.

Before I graduated university, I already knew that Law wasn’t for me – but I wasn’t sure what was. Confused, I ended up taking a year out of my degree, during which I started a blog for fun.

The only part of my degree I enjoyed was the writing, and would rant and rave about whatever was on my mind that week. An acquaintance informed me I could do this and get paid at the same time – it was called journalism.

The start of my career in journalism

I wasn’t someone who had dreamt of working in the media since infancy; I didn’t know about the NCTJ qualification most aspiring journalists acquire and apprenticeships at newspapers were nonexistent when I was first starting out.

I had written for my university paper maybe once or twice. I started applying for internship after internship with no luck and publications didn’t seem to want the pitches about the things that mattered to me.

After a while, I decided to create a platform where me and girls like me could write about the things we wanted.

Using a small grant from the charities O2 Think Big and vInspired, I started a publication called Birthday magazine, aimed at black teenagers in Britain. It was distributed in South London hair shops and served as my first work experience.

Soon afterwards, I returned to university to finish my Law degree and secured my first internship at a national paper.

Don’t be afraid to try something different

I don’t regret studying Law – my degree was not only a safety net in case journalism didn’t quite work out, but a useful learning curb.

My unconventional route into media taught me not to be afraid to try something different; whether it be pursuing a career not related to your degree or forging a completely different route into an industry. My parents were right; I am still a skilled arguer. But I prefer making my case in columns.

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