I have made countless memories and learned so many lessons in U328, our newsroom. One of the first lessons I learned was that journalism waits for no one. Ian Ferguson, a junior when I met him, walked in about five minutes late to fourth period on the first day of the second semester. My adviser, Mark Newton, or Newt, side-eyed him as he slouched into the only available seat next to me. Little did I know that after that day, I would be best friends with the kid who walked in late, or look up to a teacher, or end up finding my calling.
More than halfway into my high school career I truly had no idea where I belonged. I tried marketing classes, volunteering, playing for the soccer team, after school clubs and nothing really seemed to click. I took a creative writing class my freshman year. I enjoyed writing more than just essays assigned by teachers. My teacher, Jeff Hoefs, urged me to take the Journalism 1 course to just try it out. It was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.
Being a part of the media team at Mountain Vista has been a unique experience. Earlier, I couldn’t wait until I was a senior, front row at all of the games, cheering on the team. Now, I photograph the team and I love being on the other end of the action. Although my "senioritis" can get to me during an AP physics lecture, I have a feeling of desperation as my high school days start to become limited. Not necessarily because I’ll miss walking the halls with 2,400 other kids, but because I have finally found my comfort zone, a place I feel welcomed and wanted.
Besides binge watching Netflix, sleeping in and being a Cherry Coke fanatic, I pride myself in being a project-oriented, deadline driven, hardworking person. I put everything I have into my journalistic work and my media program. It is what sets me apart from others.
Leading people was a new experience for me this year. I had great mentors in years past whether it be Newt, former MVM editors or my freshman year creative writing teacher. I have always absorbed information as quickly as I can, engaging and trying to make sense of the somewhat controlled chaos we have in our combined program of MVM. My most valuable learning moments were sitting down at the computer working on the yearbook. I have realized that I enjoy helping others, sitting down with them to teach them InDesign or providing help on difficult coverage ideas. It motivates me to give these students the same valuable moments I started with. I think coming from my background gives me an advantage when working with people. I can attempt to pull ideas out of the quiet kid in the back of the class, because I used to be the quiet kid in the back of the class. I feel like it is my duty to the staff members to pass on what I have learned from the trial-and-error process and former MVM leaders.
Being a part of a team was nothing new to me. Although we don’t lace up cleats every time we head out to interview someone, it applies the same thought process as being a captain on a soccer team– having the motivation to pursue a common goal. I have had inspiring leaders in the past that make working on a large staff effortless. This year, I’m a part of an entire staff team and the editor team. We have problems arise all the time where we yell, fight and possibly storm out. One of the most important things I’ve learned about myself is that in a time of chaos, I am an outlet of composure. People know that they can count on me to keep a level head due to my history with stressful deadlines in my soccer and journalism career. I lead and learn with excitement and involvement. I grasp on to every dispute, triumph and lesson because I know it can only help me improve.
Looking at my published work from sophomore year only reaffirms my drive to continue journalism. I was an adolescent journalist, making my mark on the yearbook. I wasn’t very confident at the start of my journalism career; I was shy and didn’t necessarily enjoy going out of my way to talk to strangers (hence beginning in a creative writing class–never really needing to speak my mind and keeping to myself was something I felt comfortable doing.) I pushed my own personal boundaries by signing up for Journalism 1 and the MV Media staff. I opened the 2016 Aerie yearbook at the end of the year and immediately flipped to the pages I worked on. Looking at my words published in something as significant as the yearbook was a very fulfilling moment. Although I was a beginning journalism student, I felt immense pride and accomplishment to see my work published. I strive to achieve that feeling for myself, my co-editors and my staff members. I want to bring the joy I started with and I hope to inspire someone else to latch on to journalism the way I did.
As I plan to continue my journalism career in college, I am excited to push myself to expand my horizons and to embrace the journalistic opportunities as they come. In my future, I see myself sharing the important lives of others and creating a positive impact with my work. I am motivated to take my significant past experiences and create a future for myself in the journalism field.
Sitting down to start this essay was entirely difficult and simple simultaneously. Compiling my unique experiences I have encountered through journalism is similar to trying to crop a photo that shouldn’t be cropped. Creating a portfolio has been exciting and confirming to me. I got to see my accumulated work and efforts wrapped up into a package that I’m serving to you on a silver platter.
Most days, ripping off my bed covers is like ripping off a band-aid. At first, it’s awful. I want to call in sick, crawl back into bed and relinquish my responsibilities. It turns out that even though beginning my day with journalism isn't what most high schoolers would call a typical day, I can't imagine doing something different. I realize that I still have a lot to learn about myself and all that journalism encompasses, but I’m happy that I’ve learned from my failures, celebrated my successes and made so many valuable memories along the way. Ripping off that band-aid and stepping out of my comfort zone sophomore year proved to me that signing up for journalism has been the most comforting and reassuring decision I’ve made my entire high school career.
You can’t stop being a journalist once it is something you commit to. It is all around you and as I learned on my very first day, journalism waits for no one.