When I first arrived at KO, a timid, skinny, skittish freshman, the last thing on my mind was my future, hidden behind a blurry shroud of vagueness and ambiguity. I was much more focused on the present, the pragmatic.
Who was I going to eat lunch with? What sports was I going to play? How was I going to do all my homework? And as if this wasn’t enough, a scheduling error had been made, and the introductory art class I had signed up for and had been very excited about, had been filled, leaving me without an elective.
After a conversation with my adviser, during which I did my best to suppress the pent up tidal wave of emotion, brimming at the edge of my consciousness. I was given a list of electives aligning with my free periods, and after a great deal of angst and consternation, I settled on Journalism.
Throughout Middle School, writing had always been something of a strength of mine. I always did well in English classes, even though I considered writing more of a chore than an activity for pleasure.
As far as I was concerned, this was not about to change in this new journalism class. This was nothing more than a requirement, and an irritating one at that. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy myself, not to mention, discover a passion that I, now a senior, would consider as a viable career path.
How did I get to this point, from apathy to ardor? My story is, to me, emblematic of the joys and benefits of the craft. First and foremost, journalism, specifically opinion writing, afforded me the opportunity to articulate and formulate ideas and opinions rattling around my head.
Before being exposed to the world of opinion writing, these thoughts and ideas went largely unexpressed. And thus is the first joy of journalism: expression. And while this could certainly be said of writing in general, I am particularly partial to opinion writing as a medium.
After finishing the Journalism elective, I joined the KO News as an associate opinions editor. Opinions had not been one of my top choices, and while I had never lacked opinions, I had always been hesitant to share them with others out of fear of judgement or disagreement.
As I began to write for the paper, however, I was encouraged to begin to branch out and share some of my political opinions – a topic which I am especially passionate about – even though they could be controversial. After my first political article was printed, I was quite nervous.
I was unsure of the reaction that my opinion would elicit among my peers and even teachers. While I did receive responses – both positive and negative – they were, for the most part, from people who wanted to continue the conversation I had begun in the piece in a dialectical manner, something which I was thrilled to do. After that first article, I discovered that through my writing, I could create an avenue through which I could converse with people who I may not have otherwise interacted with about topics which we were both passionate about, whether or not we agreed or not.
As I continued to write, and subsequently have conversation about my writing, my confidence began to build and I could feel my freshman timidity begin to slowly ebb away.