Three days ago, I sat in the newsroom for my last late day and turned in the final issue of the school paper for printing. After two years working with the school paper, I can definitely say I’ve learned many valuable skills I’m going to take with me long after my trivial high school experience is behind me.
Thinking back to my junior year when I first joined journalism, I was excited to get started, to write stories that would shape opinions and spread the truth. After some time, I gained the confidence to go deeper into perfecting this craft–storytelling in such a way that shows readers what’s really going on in their surroundings. What they don’t know, and what should be changed to make things better for everyone.
Of course I was limited to what happened at school, the occasional fundraiser, what events ASB was throwing that semester, or even a feature story or two on amazing students. But I went deeper than that. Even the schoolyard had it’s own politics. Where the money was being poured into, disparity between certain groups of students, problems with how things were handled, and who was responsible. In a sense, the problems happening at school were a microcosm of the larger community.
But I’ve digressed.
Looking back at all the changes I’ve undergone not only as a student journalist, but as a person learning how to crawl out of their shell, I feel proud of myself. I went from a shy beginner to taking charge and eventually becoming editor in chief of the paper. How many people do that? I’ve definitely pushed myself a lot these past two years, and I know I can keep going to push myself further, to keep improving. Despite the bad things that come my way, I have hope I can succeed if I work hard enough.
So as the year comes to an end, and I get closer to leaving this place where I’ve spent these last four years learning and growing into who I am now, I feel very bittersweet about it. No longer will I walk into the same comfort of the newsroom, or be a part of the same awkward family I’ve grown close to in the process, but I know I’ve set myself up for a brighter future because of my experiences.
I do hope the staff that follows in my footsteps grows and flourishes as much as I have. It truly is a wonderful craft, journalism. It’s something that shapes how our society views the world around us, and with such a powerful tool comes a very big responsibility. If anything, I hope for the new kids to come in and feel inspired to pursue it like I have, and to be adamant about exposing what needs to be changed as well.
I’ll be pursuing journalism as a minor when I go to college, but I hope that I have the opportunity to keep working in a newsroom as well. The times spent working with the newspaper staff and editors have been some of the best, and I definitely want to continue with that.