You know that picture at the end of any Bugs Bunny cartoon? (“That’s all for now folks”.) Well, that’s what I’ve been thinking of lately; my NCTJ course is now all over. And I feel… odd. It’s the end, THE END!

I’ll freely admit that I was disappointed at failing to get the 100 words per minute qualification; I had practiced and practiced, and yet…. It may mean that I’m not gold standard, yet, but I’ll be taking the exam again, and then updating the certificate. (Getting there, getting there!) But I’m proud of myself for getting this far.

It was also kind of sad, saying goodbye to my classmates. We’ve been together twice-or more-a week, for nearly a year. In that time, a lot has changed. And I’m reminded of this when I see this photograph.

We took incredibly tentative steps in September, where ‘the fear’-of failing, not grasping the topics, was high. But what if you fly? We flew, in that sense, after all that time, and now we’re going out into the world of journalism.

And there were the debates. I’ll never forget that-examining the injustices we were confronted with whilst in law, as well as what is a gendered industry. But it’s not just the men who ‘bring home the bacon’, so to speak. And I went to court! And my classmates had a lot to say about that.. 

Amongst the deadlines, the shorthand practice, the nail biting moments during intense exams, it was the laughter that made it worthwhile.

There was the girl who broke a shorthand record, and the boy who interviewed a world champion. All in a days work! And if you want to be nosy, you can see more of what we’ve been up to here. (I’m in there, somewhere.)

The course also taught me a lot about people and being empathetic. From meeting the people behind Untold and realising they’re people, like me!, to learning how to question events sensitively, there was a lot to grasp in a short space of time. Because until you walk in another’s shoes, you cannot understand. This was made more acute by attending an event with press intrusion victims. That will be something that haunts me.

In the end, although everything was not perfect, I finally found my home-a place that I actually belonged. It is a privilege to be able to tell the stories we do, and to do the job we have trained for. I’ll be back to get my shorthand later in the year, but I’ll still be writing. And I’ll never forget the people-my classmates-who I met.

Pieces I’ve been reading this month:

How to be a copywriter / Overdue invoice? Here’s what to do / The divine redemption of Hugh Grant / Why MP’s should implement the Leveson amendment / Alan Rusbridger on leaving The Guardian / What next for Cat Marnell? / How to have a productive morning / Judge express concern over slowness of Thalidomide case / The Orwell prize / Make a pitch great / How to pitch / Latest about Thalidomide / A QC on press regulation 

Until next month, Lydia xo