Robert Louis Stevenson once masterfully penned, "To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive." For Holmesglen sports media students Anthony Bitzillis and Josh Barnstable the journey has proven more significant than the destination.
Having come to Holmesglen chasing the same opportunities, both are now linked by the shared pursuit. While each student is currently working at Fox Footy; it's the study and hard work – which have served as the foundations – that have allowed the young men to excel so far in the industry.
"You have to pinch yourself. If a couple of years ago you had said to me I'd be working at Fox Footy, I would've taken that every day of the week. Last weekend Eddie McGuire bought me a coffee," Josh says about his paid casual work with the company.
"Two weeks in we started to feel comfortable. We love the experience and feel like we're thriving," Anthony adds about his internship.
Josh, who is also completing an internship with Tennis Victoria, made the brave move, described as "daunting", from Country Victoria to Melbourne to attend Holmesglen. In an age bracket where a lack of maturity can often be excused, Josh is instead wise and ambitious.
"You get the opportunities but you still have to go out there and do it, and put your hand up for multiple roles. It's not going to come easy for you," he says.
Similarly, for Anthony, the sports media course has served as the perfect introductory point to the realities of the industry. "This course has opened my eyes to a whole new diverse side of the sports media industry," he comments. "We had a Transition to Professional Practice unit last semester. For me, personally, that was the most valuable subject we had because it allowed you to make a seamless transition into the workforce."
At Fox Footy, a placement and work opportunity organised via Holmesglen, Josh and Anthony have been tasked with writing and updating the 'Viz Ticker' (the small rolling text at the bottom of the screen). "You have to keep calm under pressure," Josh observes.
Equally, the work placement has provided additional motivation and encouragement, by helping put a face to the roles they one day want to fill.
"There are a couple of 23, 24 years old staff members working at Fox Footy, and they're only a few years older than us and they're all well embedded into the Fox family. I think you look at them, and they're two years out of their course and we're in our final year, and you aim to be in their shoes in a couple of years," Anthony says.
Moreover, Anthony also understands the importance of building the portfolio and accepting writing roles when presented. He has written match articles for the Northern Football League, completed commentary work (also arranged through Holmesglen), and worked as a volunteer with Cricket Victoria.
With both students approaching the end of their course, the ideal blend of theory and practice has their goals well maintained.
"The long term goal has always been to be a journalist working in sport. I think I'm definitely taking the right steps," Josh says.