Torn between the two: Skint Student or Savvy Saver?

In brief: Do I go to Harlow College to grab a journalism diploma but earn no money for three months? OR do I continue working my full time waitress job and part time newspaper job to save more money and head off to Australia sooner?

I have a huge desire to travel (as do many 20 somethings), yet I also have the desire to become a successful journalist along the way. Don’t ask me what I want to specialise in yet, as that’s another issue altogether. Lifestyle, travel, columns or broadcast perhaps…

I’m officially stuck, and have been for a few months now. I’m shit at making decisions and this one I’ve needed a lot of advice for. It’s been a grey cloud of negativity and it needs to disappear quick. My next big goal is to live and work in Australia for 18 months, and plans are going underway with my family who live over there. However, we need to jump this obstacle first…

I have already achieved a joint Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism & News media, along with Film Studies – So why would my editor still suggest Harlow? He basically said “your degree is all well and good, but…”

 Part of me is like “well I already have a degree so screw you”, yet another part of me knows that this Fast Track Journalism course will boost my memory and give me more knowledge of the journalism sector. Therefore after many discussions with friends, family and colleagues, the current decision has come to this:

Complete the application form and apply anyway AFTER Australia. If I pass 50%-60% in the exam then I get accepted to do the one year course. However, if I get over 60%, then its the three month course which is a big fat YESThe cost of the course doesn’t matter, as I’m already £26k in debt anyway from university so this will just be an add-on.

If I get into the course, I will be finding accommodation outside of the college as I am considered a mature student now (urgh), and these contacts are people living in normal houses near campus offering spare rooms to students. (How very kind!) OR I can do it at home and live with my parents. Would I be disciplined enough to work from home though? We will see…

Doing this course means no working AT ALL, as I feel that having a job on the side actually had a negative effect on my final uni results back in 2012…Therefore this time it’s no work, no play – all study.


Click here to see what I’m applying for


The part time newspaper and magazine job I have now, is giving me plenty of experience to add to my portfolio. This is why I keep having second thoughts about the course, as I know for a fact that experience alone is very important – so why would I still go ahead with this diploma? I guess I see it as a brain refresher, instead of looking back at three years worth of lecture notes…This diploma is also the end of the road for studying, and is said to be recognised as a leader in training by the industry.

So heck, why not? AFTER Australia I can always consider it. I will just have to be poor for three months.

Life’s too short to dwell…And university was still the greatest and most difficult three years of my life!


If anyone in the UK still wants to become a Journalism Graduate – PLEASE MAKE SURE IT IS NCTJ APPROVED SO YOU WON’T EVEN HAVE TO DO THIS EXTRA COURSE IN THE FIRST PLACE AFTER GRADUATION! – I found this out too late, therefore I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.

Much love

Amy Lee x


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