Voronezh State University graduates often look back at their studies as a bright and memorable time of their lives. A 2005 graduate of the Department of History of Philosophy of the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology, Director of the Bureau of the Interfax information agency in the Voronezh Region Dmitry Zelentsov has told us about his education and how the knowledge obtained at the university helped him in his career.
– For me, the choice of the major was rather a random one. My parents are doctors and I was obviously expected to follow in their footsteps. I graduated from Voronezh Medical College, and then went on to enter Mechnikov Saint Petersburg State Medical Academy and study there for a year. But, to be totally honest, in my heart of hearts I knew that the medical profession was not really my thing, and that I preferred the humanities. Then I came back to Voronezh and thought of getting another degree. I was choosing between the Faculty of History and the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology, and I finally went for the Department of History of Philosophy. I had never even thought of entering any other university except VSU.
The brightest memory of the university years
– I know this may sound cheesy, but my brightest memory is meeting my wife-to-be. We studied together, although she majored in Psychology, while I opted for Philosophy. Surprisingly, we had been living nearby for a long time and even went to the same school, but we only really saw each other at university.
– I was on the students' union committee and I was later chosen to be the students' union leader of the faculty as a whole. I enjoyed the social activity in this area very much. We had an opportunity to assist those who needed help through the students' union work. Apart from dealing with social issues, the students' union was involved in a large number of social events, which later stirred my interest in journalism.
The start of a journalist's career and a degree in Philosophy
– In fact, I had never expected myself to get involved in journalism. Back when I was studying medicine, I was also interested in the work of some journalists I knew, but I had never thought I would do this myself in practice. When I was in my fifth year at the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology, I was confronted with a question: What shall I do next? It was then that I had an opportunity to work as a string correspondent for the Communa newspaper. After that, I was given a recommendation to work for the Bereg newspaper for some time. Then I went on to be a correspondent for the Interfax.
In the context of journalism, a degree in philosophy helps a lot due to its universal nature, because it shapes your world view. Additionally, if one is capable of writing, this education will help one make sense of the social and political processes, the economics, as well as the whole range of relevant issues and problems.
Tips for students and applicants choosing a career path
– I would recommend that young people who feel they must focus on the humanities not go for something that other people consider to be more prestigious, unless it matches their own priorities and mindsets. In fact, a degree in humanities, especially philosophy, has a number of strong points because of its diverse and fundamental nature. Having obtained it, a person can then realize their potential almost in any area – from politics to journalism or a teaching career. The main thing is to believe in yourself and keep to the selected path.
The employer's opinion of what a graduate with a degree in the humanities must be able to do to be a journalist
– First of all, you have to have the ability and a desire to write, and secondly, you need a wide area of thought. It may sometimes be hard to work with people who wish to become journalists but are not aware of some basic facts, say, about the local and regional policies. In my view, you must study your area beforehand, and be eager to learn about new things. Also, it is essential not to forget about the variations in the editorial policies of print media, information agencies, on TV and the radio. For instance, when I came to Interfax, with its strict and harsh standards of preparing information, it was hard for me, as a former newspaper reporter, to readjust.
I believe that, for an employer, it makes sense to hire people with no previous experience, whom they could later "bring up" and teach to write in the proper way. In Interfax, there are certain standards and an algorithm of news writing, with demands that are very different from those in newspapers, as is the vision of priorities and unacceptable topics. In addition, Interfax teaches you universality: an information journalist must be able to work professionally with any topic.