This will be my last blog post for J2150. The projects, quizzes, hours spent assembling audio and video are all over. After next week, it will all be finished. Although I’m still working on finalizing my final group project (which you can check out here), and studying for the multiple-choice exam Monday, I’ve been thinking about the lessons I learned in the class. There are plenty of them to share, but most of you who are reading this already know what they are. But there is one that stuck with me, and it’s nowhere to be found in an online lesson or 8 hours of Lynda videos.
The greatest lesson I learned in J2150 was how to set standards. For my first few assignments, I set my expectations too high, and when I couldn’t meet them, I was frustrated. During assignments, I collected audio that was too quiet or video that was out of focus, and I was no longer be happy with my work, because it wasn’t the best I could do.
Later on, I realized that it was more important to have three sets of standards, because otherwise it felt like I was always failing. Here they are.
At the lowest tier are the essential requirements for the task or project. If everything goes wrong, at least you’ve got the basics covered. I had a habit of turning in late assignments in J2150, and I don’t think I would have had that problem if I made sure to meet the requirements first.
At the top is your personal vision for excellence, an attainable yet challenging goal that requires going above-and-beyond the project requirements to reach it. I think most people have this in mind when they start a project, and that’s great. But it can easily become a barrier when you compare everything you do to professional work.
In the middle is a personal standard for which the requirements have been met, and you have gone beyond those to create a quality product you can be proud of. I think people forget about this one. They get frustrated that they couldn’t meet their highest standard, and they lose most of their focus. They ignore the good quality of the work they did accomplish.
Winston Churchill said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” In a course as demanding as J2150, this quote is a necessary mantra. Looking back, J2150 was a great place for failure. I really enjoyed being able to peer review the work of my classmates and see everyone improve over the semester. We all made mistakes, and it was OK.
Anyways, it’s time to wrap this up. To everyone who reads this from J2150G, cheers! We made it! It was a great semester with all of you, and I hope you all do great things here at the journalism school.
—This is Ben Kothe reporting for the last time(!) from J2150 section G, Columbia.