Smith’s Declassified Student Media Survival Guide

Tandra Smith is a senior journalism major and double minor in multimedia communications and film and production. Smith is from Austell, Georgia and has been on The George-Anne staff since freshman year, and has held positions such as news reporter, coverage managing editor, and engagement editor.

Tandra Smith

Hey you. Yes, you: incoming freshman or rising sophomore, junior or senior. I’m sure you’ve heard all about Student Media, The George-Anne and other entities. Maybe you’ve always wanted to join. Maybe you hate our guts. Either way, I’m bidding adieu to Georgia Southern University and Student Media. Before I go, I want to leave you with some tips about how to survive working for Student Media if you or a loved one manage to find your way into the hallowed halls of the second floor of the Williams Center.

Tip #1: Do join Student Media!

I won’t beat around the bush. You’ll hear many people talking bad about Student Media and The George-Anne. I’ve gotten “What a liberal rag” to “Sorry, I’m too conservative to take your paper” and much more. Despite this, you should join anyway! Really, the comments are just a precursor to your life in the media anyway.

Tip #2: Make sure you hang around outside of work

Yeah, if you thought that you’ll last long at Student Media when you leave right after your shift is over, you thought wrong. All the best moments I’ve had at Student Media have occurred in the late night hours and pre-dawn mornings.

Between watching Vine compilations and having milly-rock competitions as the clock strikes midnight, if you’re not willing to stay long after your shift, you might as well not even stay–period.

Tip #3: Make as many friends as you can

Though I learned a lot about being a great journalist from Student Media, my experience would’ve been nothing without becoming close friends with a lot of the staff, both older and younger.

To Ian and Jozsef: Thank you for insulting me constantly, making fun of my music tastes and yes, not publishing my cold weather story. I am proud to call both of you guys my journalism mentors, even though I would never admit that while y’all were here.

To Taisha and Kiara: Thank you two for showing me that black women can survive and thrive in the media. I’m so excited to keep in touch with y’all as the years go on.

To Blakeley, my friend from day one: It seems like only yesterday we were in candidate class and wondering what the hell we were doing at a Student Media party when we didn’t know anybody else there. Can’t wait for you to walk across that stage during graduation.

To Matthew, my fearless Editor-in-Chief: We’ve come a long way from watching senseless YouTube videos in the library and me driving you around everywhere because your car is always at the stadium. I couldn’t have been prouder to be your friend and work alongside you for three years.

To anybody else I’ve missed: I thank you. I love you.

Yes, there are only three tips, but three of the most important ones you’ll need if you decide to join Student Media. It’s been a hell of four years here and I don’t regret it one bit.

Tandra Smith, The George-Anne Engagement Editor,