Can You Even Write Though?

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Raymond couldn't face another rejection letter from Take A Break magazine.

Raymond couldn’t face another rejection letter from Take A Break magazine.

By Frankie Richardson

I want to be a Journalist. I find it utterly impossible to articulate why I want to be a journalist without sounding sickeningly twee and clichéd. I want to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves, I want to shine the light of truth on the darkest corners of our world. Like a knight in shining armour, protecting the innocent, I want to join the battle for social justice, honesty and integrity. A beautiful dream? Possibly. Ever so slightly over dramatic? Definitely. Achievable? Absolutely! But wait. Is it?

A couple of weeks ago, I started university. Along with countless other wide-eyed newbies I sat in my first induction session, all at once excited, overwhelmed and totally terrified. Then all of a sudden, about an hour in, I had an awful thought. I want to be a journalist, but I’m not even sure I can write. Immediately I was engulfed in a haze of self doubt. I cast my eyes around the increasingly alien lecture theatre and took in the faces about me. From the bright eyed eighteen year olds, filled with the rush of freedom bestowed by their tiny new bedroom in halls, to the stoic, determined mature student, filled with supreme confidence that, for them, university means nothing but hard work and the corresponding glory of success. And finally the staff. Academic demi-gods, experts in their respective fields, whole lives are slavishly devoted to the study of their beloved subjects.

Do I really belong here? As the thick blanket of despair descended I felt sure I would never be able to string a sentence together much less write an essay. This was ridiculous. I was a fraud, an imposter, I was about to be unmasked and unceremoniously kicked out at any moment. Break time arrived without mishap, however, and over a coffee I started to look at my peers more closely.

It dawned on me, slowly, that I probably wasn’t the only one suffering a minor breakdown. Those fresh faced eighteen year olds have just left home for the first time, making the huge leap from school to university, from parents to independence, in most cases without knowing a single face in this huge bustling sprawl of a city. Those mature students, feeling older by the second as they watch the babbling mass of what looks increasingly like a room full of walking, talking foetuses. And finally the staff. Overwhelmingly intelligent, gifted academics certainly, but approachable, human academics who dedicate themselves to teaching, to the expansion of other minds, to the sharing of knowledge and the cultivation of talents in those who, like me, may doubt their own abilities.

I realised, gradually, that this is not a place preserved for the already outstanding, it is a place for those with the ability to develop the skills and knowledge required to become professionals in each of their chosen fields.

So, at the end of my first day, I still didn’t know if I could write. But I do know, categorically and unequivocally, that I’m going to find out, and I will not be finding out alone.

 Frankie is is her first year studying a History and Sociology combined Honours Degree at Manchester Metropolitan University.

If you are a student considering a career in journalism, find out how you can get involved with the MMU Student Press Office at

About the author / 


aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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  1. Mohamed 27th October 2014 at 8:28 pm -  Reply

    I love this. A good portrayal of the insecurities of getting into writing. I must add the insecurities are not justified, this is well written.

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