I’m working on it: An ode to journalism

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By Amanda Lee, Web columnist

Journalism… What can I possibly say about Journalism?

To be completely honest, this was not the first time I’ve been in the class. I was here my sophomore year. I remember walking down the steps, finding my name tag at the back of the class, and then hearing the news that I was the only sophomore in the class. That was the downfall for me.

As the syllabus was read, I felt like the walls were closing in, the roof was collapsing around me, and I was being asked to sign away my very soul. It was terribly scary. Terribly. I got out of that class as fast as I could possibly change my schedule and vowed to myself I’d never go back.

And yet, here I am once again. I walked into the class my junior year, and the syllabus that I was already a bit familiar with was read to me for the second time. The only difference this time though, was that I was not as scared, I wasn’t sitting in the back thinking of ways I could escape. I felt…okay.

Journalists are a funny folk. It would seem that the journalism class is really just a combination of every type of character you can imagine. Somewhere in that mass of personality, I found mine and was surprisingly able to fit right in. I think that was my favorite part of this class, being able to bond with people that I normally wouldn’t have the guts to talk to.

However, I still feel like that syllabus should have a line with an X that says “sign away your social life here.” I promise you, when I’m a journalism teacher I will be doing that–for sure.

I ended up spending quite a bit of time in this classroom. It’s sort of begun to feel like a second home, except all I do is write…and write…and keep on writing until oh say… 10 at night? True story- no joke.

This class, as stressful as it may be though, is still one of the most valuable classes I have ever taken.

Before this class I thought I was an excellent writer. I thought I had this thing in the bag. Boy, was I wrong! I learned that my writing isn’t always top notch, sometimes it’s pretty down there on the scale of excellence, and may even lead to the Dark Unspeakable Times. I’ve been there. They’re not pleasant.

I was also kind of shy at the beginning of the class. I wasn’t used to going up to strangers and interrogating them, I wasn’t used to having my ideas shut down on the spot, and I certainly wasn’t used to being told that what I wrote was “junk.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Shy journalist? Not possible.”

You’re right, it’s not possible. That’s why I had to get over my ridiculous shyness and grow a backbone and a tough skin. It wasn’t easy, but it was something I had to do, something I did do. And you know what? That has helped me out more than anything anyone has every taught me.

To me, Journalism is where you take a bunch of people, throw them in a shark tank, and tell them to make it out alive. Those waters may be shark infested, dark, cold, scary and perhaps murky with lurking dangers, but it’s make it out alive or don’t, and it’s in my best interest to make it out alive.

It’s hard. Unbelievably hard. I ended up running around like a chicken with no head for the first issue, but I managed to survive that. And eventually, you learn to tame the wild beast that is Journalism, and things aren’t so bad.

The key to my success lies in two people. My editor and my editor. Ms. Haina, the fearless leader of us all, the yucky tasting medicine that you have to take in order to get better, the wielder of the hated red pen. She has the kind of eye that could find a needle in a haystack, except, instead of searching for needles; she’s searching for every single miniscule error in my writings.

She is amazing. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to improve as a writer as much as I did if it wasn’t for her.

My editor, Ka’io is a life saver. She is quite literally the light in the dark tunnel. She always helps me out, she always gives me advice, and she always makes me feel better even in the chaos that I call my life with Journalism.

 She too is amazing. I would have never been able to survive that first issue without her.

As for the person who held me back the most and made things difficult. Well, that blame rests on my shoulders. And not because I’m a martyr. But, because the only person who made me procrastinate, who made me lose focus, who made me write (between me and this reflection) half-hearted articles, was me. I did it! Me, me, me, me! 

Granted, I did well, but I think I could have done better, and that is what disappoints me.

Still though, I won’t be a downer because I did have a lot of successes and great things happen during this season of hard-core writing.

I got accepted to Quill and Scroll (I hope my membership doesn’t get revoked because of the above).

I got to have a bunch of front-page stories, and I improved not only as a writer, but as a person. Who knew this class could teach so much?

I will be coming back to this class, the newest prodigy of Journalism, who will go on to spread the news to the world in an objective and fair manner. I plan to accomplish… EVERYTHING that relates to journalism!

And for all those considering the class next year: do not hesitate! Go for gold! Be a little gutsy! Become a member of the quirky bunch known to the rest of the world as journalists and be great!

Journalism class is fantastic, hence the reason I capitalize Journalism. I think I did many great feats that the Amanda-before-journalism could never have thought of doing. It gives you confidence, a tough skin, a nose for stories, a good ear, and a backbone.

You’ll always need those in life, and the best place to get them is in this class.