Being a journalist hasn't given some people the best reputation in the last couple of years, but that doesn't mean that journalism is a bad career choice. If anything, I say that journalism has opened countless doors for me and has given me some awesome opportunities over the last few years. There are lots of amazing things about the job - you get to work with people which is perfect for social butterflies like myself, you get the chance to hear amazing stories first-hand and have the privilege of sharing them with the world, the trust that your readers and those sharing their stories place in you. There are a lot of tougher sides of the job as well, like having to write a tribute to one of your former best friends after a horrible accident, but that is why I think it is important to enjoy the good parts.I know some don't agree with getting freebies through journalism, but this is one of my favourite parts of the job - the privilege and extras that come with it. Journalism opens you up to a world of opportunities that you would never have had otherwise, and that is something I love about it.I know a fair few journalists who never really take advantage of the extras in the job, which personally I think is a shame considering how low paid so many journalists are. I know some won't agree, but I tend to look at it as the tips a waitress would get. This is just a bonus to the job and, as a bit of a blagger, I don't mind asking - I always figure if you don't ask you don't get. Which is clear from how many amazing things I have been lucky enough to gain - I always ask the question. So what have been my best blags and the top experiences my job has given me?
- My top has got to be weekend tickets to an incredible electronic dance music festival, Glade Festival, that was right on my doorstep. It was only my second festival and this experience really showed me how much I love festivals, plus it gave me a taste for reviewing and writing about festivals which then led to my work at This Festival Feeling.
- Close behind was tickets to Wyndstock - a Midsummer Ball, another festival, this time a more upmarket one with swing dancing, posh banquets and a fake fox-hunt - it was so much fun and again gave me a great opportunity to write about festivals. As did free tickets to the first Zoo Project Festival.
- I have just booked in to write a feature on a circus that is coming to town - how better to do it than to have a lesson from a Mexican high-wire expert who has been walking the wire since he was six-years-old and to interview him?
- Tickets to the theatre - I have pre-written and reviewed various shows at theatres across the area over the last few years. All brilliant experiences and, as a big theatre-lover, have helped me develop a working relationship with the various theatre groups because I have actually seen their work.
- Tickets to the ballet - a stunning night watching Swan Lake as a thanks for giving a series of write-ups to another theatre and free tickets to music events in the town.
- Taking on a new local bootcamp for a feature was brilliant fun and I got to take along a group of mates to get really muddy as we tried to complete an obstacle course and had a boxercise class.
- I've got another coming up - this one is Loopy Ball, which is also for a group of mates and it football but inside giant blow up balls - should be funny and I'm looking forward to it.
- Getting to interview and meet theatre, music and TV stars is an amazing bonus of the job and running the entertainment section, I've been pretty lucky.
- Priority screenings of the pantomime - I love a Christmas panto, and getting invited along, with my family in tow, to watch it before anyone else has is pretty good fun. Priority tickets are always a winner - running the entertainment section means I always know first when a great comedian or show is coming to town and I can usually reserve tickets.
- A fantastic Glamping trip with my girls as part of a review.
Of course, we're not all in it for the freebies, we do it for the love of the job and a passion for reporting news. But, being a journalist is a stressful job with constant deadlines, you work hard and if opportunities come up I don't think we should be afraid to snap them up. Much like bloggers accepting gifts of review products. There's plenty more I haven't listed - so budding journalists, if anyone tells you that you are making a mistake with your career - why not ask them if their job gives them the chance to do all of these amazing things?
What's the best freebie you've ever had through work? Are you thinking about going into journalism?
My Facebook is littered with students who are starting to get excited about going back to uni, some who are just starting and those, like myself, who wish we could go back, if only for one awesome night. The countdown is starting, and after the bank holiday, there really isn't long to go until the universities once again open their doors to the madness. Regular readers will know that I had a pretty awesome time at university, made some amazing friends and loved every second of studying - even those all-nighters in the library and the early starts! And I have to say, that although by the time I left I was rather more excited to get out in the world and start working, I would always love to go back and experience it all again - I wouldn't do a single thing differently and would love every second.One of the things I would particularly like the chance to experience again is living in such close quarters with all of my fabulous university friends. We had a group of around seven of us who spent most of our waking moments together throughout first and second year. By third year, we were spread across two houses just a few minutes walk from each other and some of us were even on the same courses! It was brilliant, especially for someone who previously had mainly boy mates to experience being surrounded by so many like-minded girls who (sorry to quote Cyndi Lauper but...) "just wanna have fun!" We all had the same priorities, we all wanted to study hard and do well, but made sure we had plenty of time for lots of fun as well - these are the girls who would be up all hours studying and revising with me. But they are also the girls I was out pretty much every night with, the ones who came on Nando's dates with me and the ones who came round for pizza and X Factor nights.It was always great to have a group of so many because you could always guarantee that no matter what you wanted to do, there was someone who was free to come along with you, there was always someone to get drunk with and there was always someone who could help you when you got stuck on coursework. It always really helped to have that support network when you were struggling because there was always someone around who could proofread your essays, test you before exams and to make sure you revise with promises of cocktails as a reward. Each summer, when we were all torn apart for three or four months, and now between each reunion I'm always thinking about all the silly and fun things I miss about my beauties. Trust me there are quite a few, but the things I miss most are the qualities that make this friendship and sets it apart from other friendships I share.20 Things I Miss About My University Girls:
- Having someone there all the time - I was so used to having at least four of us in the house at all times, that meant someone was always awake to talk, snuggle or do shots with.
- Silly inside jokes were constant in our group, as in any other, and they still go on now, years after they stopped being funny for everyone else - but they certainly still make us giggle!
- Talking about EVERYTHING - whether we wanted to or not and no matter how gross or graphic it got - there was always someone there to listen.
- Similar, but all the talk and comedy over sex - it held hours of entertainment of talking in detail about funny experiences and in hilarious detail about the blokes involved, then giggling when seeing the boys like immature 12-year-olds.
- Cooking dinner after a night out, especially trying to fry eggs when drunk and basically just making a mess with lots of mayonnaise.
- Cooking and eating big dinners together like a little family before watching a film - all when sober.
- Being silly, tickle fights, spooning, snuggles in bed, pumpkin carving, baking and all the rest.
- Fancy dress! My girls and I always went all out for every single fancy dress occasion, and even some we made up ourselves - we'd do all the school girl nights, army girls, cops and robbers, Disney princesses and all the rest.
- My partners in crime - never have I met so many girls who were all up for causing carnage and as much naughty behaviour as I am - we had a good giggle and they were always there alongside me when I was causing mischief.
- Getting ready together for a big night out, or any night out, playing our music loud, dancing like muppets, making cocktails, choosing our outfits and all the rest.
- The ridiculous amount of time spent in the loo on nights out - it was silly and drunken and we loved it - much as we tried to deny it it was a big part of our nights out!
- Dropping it like it's hot every time we got into the club, busting hilarious moves and having the time of our lives - girls only.
- Eating rubbish - I'm a hell of a lot healthier than back then, we loved a cheeky McDonalds, Nando's, Dominoes, Indian... - but sneaking these foods with the girls was a lot of fun.
- Chasing spiders - okay I don't miss this quite so much, but we had a lot of laughs over trying to catch the enormous spiders that we found in our house.
- Being really gross - I won't go into details because I don't tell on my girls, but we've all been pretty gross at one point or another, and we've all seen each other in the worst drunken states possible, so we know how to cope with anything!
- Those all-nighters - I'm not even talking about the nights out, I'm talking about the picnics we would make and take to the library, hauling our laptops and books over there to study, having short breaks where we just threw sweets into each others mouths.
- Fry-up Tuesdays - a couple of us used to pop to the university cafe for a cheeky fry-up between lectures, that certainly perked us up after an early start!
- Running was hilarious, we went as a group for a short time during the winter months and used to freeze ourselves to death before coming home for hot showers and dinner. After a while, I lost my running buddies, but it was funny while it lasted, with regular gasps of "I'm dying".
- Making the most of our garden with barbecues, nudie sunbathing and revising during the summer - as long as the spiders kept away we were happy.
- Nando's was our spiritual home between lectures, in the evenings and basically any time of day - we'd use any excuse to go and it was more than just chicken to us.
So what do you miss the most about your university mates when you're on summer break, or since finishing? Why not share below and add to the list?