Student Highlight: Brad Streicher, Transitioning Into the “Real World”

This month’s student blog comes courtesy of Brad Streicher, a recent graduate of the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. In addition to majoring in Broadcast and Digital Journalism and minoring in Cinematic Arts at USC, Brad worked as a tour guide for the Office of Admission and a reporter, anchor and executive producer for Annenberg Media. He also held internships at media outlets around the country, including CNBC, NBC Los Angeles and Business Insider. After graduating this past spring, Brad moved to Charleston, South Carolina to work as a reporter for CBS affiliate Live 5 News. In his blog, Brad highlights his transition from USC student to USC graduate and how he has utilized the resources and connections from his undergraduate experience to find and succeed in his current job.

Attending USC was always the dream. When I was young, I would constantly ask my mom how I would know which college I wanted to attend. She would confidently reply, “You’ll just know. Right when you walk on campus, you’ll just know. Wait and see.”

As always, mom was right.

Walking onto USC’s campus was like stepping into a movie. The buildings were beautiful, the academics were admirable and you could practically smell success in the air. It’s no secret—USC is pretty awesome.

That’s why as soon as I was admitted to USC’s Annenberg School for Journalism to study broadcast and digital journalism, I was already dreading graduation. The thought of leaving the perfect place? Unbearable. The thought of adulthood? Terrifying.

To my surprise at the time, I noticed that uncertainty and fear had all but evaporated when I was walking across the graduation stage.

Looking back on it, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. USC offered great resources for me to take advantage of, which ultimately helped me prepare for tackling the “real world.” I consider the time I spent in the Media Center as the most fundamental and developmental aspect of my education. The Media Center offered me a real-life learning lab. It gave me the chance to work day-to-day doing exactly what I do at my job today.

I also held several internships during my time at USC, all of which contributed to shaping me into the journalist I am today. I worked for all sorts of media companies—everything from local news to investigative journalism to digital video production to network news. Each internship exposed me to a new aspect of the media industry, which ultimately shaped me into a well-rounded journalist. The importance of that well-roundedness was inspired by the lessons I learned at Annenberg, both through my classes and through my faculty advisors in the Media Center.

Safe to say, USC offers everything students need to propel themselves into the “real world.”

And propelled I was. All the way across the country, in fact. Shortly after graduation, I packed up my things and moved to Charleston, SC for a job as a television news reporter. My time at USC had ended, but my journey was really just beginning.

Getting the job was tough—the job market is difficult and the TV industry is competitive. For me, the job hunt meant constantly updating a spreadsheet with job openings around the country, studying successful reporter reels and reaching out to news directors to express my interest personally. I also took time to contact Annenberg alumni, who helped prepare me for the job hunt. Several alumni critiqued my work, made suggestions to my portfolio website and offered advice on which television markets I should target during my search.

Though the search was difficult, I did not doubt I would be employed. My confidence was largely thanks to USC Annenberg’s incredible resources. I had fantastic career counselors who offered invaluable advice. I had an alumni network so strong it surprised me every time I tapped into it. I had faculty who were unbelievably helpful at mentoring me through the job search. But most importantly, I had my friends to give me all the support I could have ever asked for. None of those resources would have existed if it weren’t for USC.

After a difficult job search, I prepared to tackle an even greater challenge with beginning my career. For me, everything was new. I was moving to a new place to start a new career with new people I didn’t know. I anticipated struggle, but remained confident I was up to the task. As a Trojan, overcoming challenges to achieve success is in our DNA.

What shocked me was how quickly, and how easily, I made the transition. Professionally, I was well prepared. Of course, there were—and still are—learning curves. But I am astounded every day at how well Annenberg equipped me for the real world. The work I did in the Media Center and the instruction I received from professors was immediately applicable to my day-to-day job duties. I still have so much to learn and so many ways to grow, and I’m so thankful I have such incredible and talented coworkers to help me along the way. But I am immensely thankful to USC. Because of my Annenberg education, I didn’t have to get my feet wet. I walked into Charleston knee-deep in water.

USC also prepared me to personally tackle the transition to post-grad life. Moving to a state where I knew no one was a difficult decision—it was certainly one I was not ready to make before college. But USC’s education provided me with a broad, globalized awareness of the world around me. Studying with people from so many different backgrounds and cultures helped me realize there is so much more to the world than the California life I grew up in. Because of the friendships I made and the connections I formed at USC, I now have a network of people that stretches literally across the world. This school provided me not only with the confidence to conquer a new environment, but the security to know my Trojan family is never out of reach.

I would be lying if I said transitioning from college to the real world is a breeze. But for many people, that transition can be overwhelming. That’s a struggle I don’t see often—at least not from my USC friends. This school prepared us for the real world. It seems as if we spent four years not studying for tests, but going through real world boot camp. Thanks for that, USC.

As you think ahead toward graduation, you probably share the same feeling I had for most of my time as a student. But I can assure you there’s nothing you need to worry about. USC is both handing you and teaching you how to use every tool you need in order to achieve long-term success.

Look confidently to the future, never forget the school that shaped who you are, cherish the family you’re forever part of and never stop fighting on.