Three years ago when I graduated with a BA in Political Science and a vague interest in policy, media, and foreign affairs, I had some ideas fleshed out in an academic thesis that few have read, and a huge pile of course papers that were noticeably collecting dust. I learned so much from my peers and professors, but many interesting exchanges remained trapped within the confines of classroom walls. I had never taken a journalism class or written for a school paper, and I didn't have the necessary social media chops to have my thoughts reach an audience more significant than my mother or a few devoted friends.
This year, everything changed. I connected with PolicyMic and gained the opportunity to develop my interest in politics into real journalism cred. By contributing to the site, I discovered a passion for journalism, reached a wide audience, and gained a stellar new set of media skills along the way.
PolicyMic provides millennials with variety of backgrounds with all of the necessary skills and knowledge to set their ideas in motion. Editors fine tune pundits' writing skills as they provide personalized feedback, guide writers on article topics to improve their news-scanning skills, and help contributors reach large audiences in one fell swoop.
Contributing to PolicyMic helped me reach more than 1,000,000 readers on a single article. I enjoyed a brief stint on the leader board next to U.S. Senator Rand Paul. Working with the Breaking News team helped me research and write about new developments with speed as I live-blogged a technology release event, and even helped me expand my Twitter following and make a brief TV appearance to discuss U.S. policy in Syria.
With each writing assignment, I learned more and more about the writing process and a range of policy issues. I enjoyed hearing what community members had to say in their comments, and learned more as I read articles from pundits with a wide spectrum of views.
It's clear that journalism is evolving for our generation. Print media is struggling to adapt to the digital age, and the field faces many challenges. My own late entry to the world of journalism was perhaps informed by the pervasive, unavoidable comments we hear that "journalism is a dying field." But the worst thing millennials can do facing a tough job market and shifting media landscape is shy away from engaging with the news or contributing to the national debate.
Yes, my friends and I enjoy a good BuzzFeed article about left-handedness and an occasional viral video about cats. But we've also harnessed online media to become increasingly connected to world events that matter. My peers and I watched breathlessly on Twitter and YouTube as fellow youths in the Middle East rose up during the Arab Spring. We joined together in applause on social media platforms when young Malala Yousafzai fought with her life to defend a woman's right to education.
Young people do care about world events, and we use the internet more and more to follow them. We may not read the New York Times every morning, but we care deeply about the world around us. PolicyMic is helping harness this potential for young people to engage with these issues and contribute to national debate. There are many ways to contribute to the site, from an occasional section article to a biweekly on-call assignment to a full on-internship. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from the fabulous team at PolicyMic. Having millennials' voices amplified on PolicyMic offers a great way for our generation to set ideas into motion, and I hope more and more of my peers become involved with the site.