An implicit piece of West Henderson High School Z-2 journalism culture, unbeknownst to me as a freshman, is that anyone in the vicinity of the business phone plays “nose goes” when it rings to determine who has to answer it. One fateful day, I realized to my horror that I was one second too late in getting my finger on my nose, and it was my turn to pick up the phone.
I couldn’t do it. I refused. I shook my head in protest and slid down as far as I could in my chair, pretending I didn’t exist.
The upperclassmen around me rose in volume as they warned me not to let it ring.
“Dude, get the phone.”
“Seriously, you need to get the phone!”
“Mrs. G’s gonna come back here if you don’t get it!”
Footsteps thundered on the floor as Mrs. G stormed into the room to answer the phone. She turned to me in frustration and yelled, “It’s just a phone! What do you think the person on the other side is going to do, bite you?”
Although I turned fire engine red–Pantone 485 C–at the time, those words resonated with me, and I rethought my philosophy. My fear of knocking on teachers’ doors to interview people began to dissipate, and the dread I initially held regarding the interviews turned into genuine curiosity and interest in people’s stories.
I saw myself evolve from a timid, unsure freshman into a bold, confident journalist in a matter of weeks. I branched out and attended conventions; my passion for telling stories grew, and I eventually reached the position of Web Editor-in-Chief as a junior.
While many of my former editors said the position broke their spirit, leading the publication only made me fall in love with the organized chaos of the newsroom more. Nothing made me happier than seeing the screen of the computer go blurry as I began to tear up over beautifully worded opinion pieces, or seeing a story receive a comment from a community member and knowing that my work had sparked conversation.
Before I knew it, it was the beginning of my final semester as a high school journalist. My passion has yet to cease.
I have never been a morning person, but I rushed out of the comfort of my bed on this dark, dreary Thursday. In my haste, I dropped my backpack in the quickly accumulating rain, and I spilled all but one sip of my coffee all over the backseat of my car. My spirit was not dampened in the least. The cause?
It was photoshoot day for the cover of our second print issue. The photographer and I had come up with a brilliant idea to reflect the rebellious undertones of the center spread, and we could not contain our excitement all morning.
There are so many aspects of journalism that make me feel the same giddiness I felt about that cover. The world of journalism pushes me to my limits in the best ways. It makes me consider all sides of every story and challenges me to cover them all in a timely manner. It forces me to delegate, which is hard for me since I love every part of the process. However, I have even learned to love delegating; it allows younger staffers to feel the same passion and go on the same journey on which I got to embark.
Journalism has not only given me the ever-useful abilities to speed-write papers and speed-design spreads, but it has also given me a place to grow as a person. I will be forever indebted to whatever forces led me to end up in Z-2 as a freshman because without it, I don’t know where I would be.