16 pages changed my life. The place where these 16 pages, filled with their reviews and pictures and designs, came to life is my home away from home. Never in a million years would I imagine that something so simple as a journalism lab could be one of the most meaningful places and hold the fondest memories. It is there, in my swivel chair eating my snacks and writing my stories, that I have found my place and blossomed into the person that I am proud to be today. Definitely accompanied by some struggles and frustrations at times, my journalistic journey was perfectly imperfect but one of the best experiences of my life to say the least.
Initially doubting the impact that I could potentially have to empower others, especially my peers, I felt that my voice couldn’t reach or be heard by many. Over the past three years, I have proven myself wrong and seen the ability that students have to not only cover the news and run a publication but to also bring out the best in others as they uncover events in the community around them. As my fellow staff members have pushed me to become the best journalist and person I could be, I feel invigorated by their support and strive to pay it forward.
While I would rather be writing this there, instead of in my home, I have found that although I may never return to that place as a student, I will always be a journalist. I will always be a fact-checker, an active citizen in my community and a believer in everyone’s right to have a voice that is heard. I know the power that I have to impact those around me and make sure that they are informed about what is going on around them. All because of 16 pages.
Before becoming a journalist and a member of my amazing, supportive staff, I didn’t feel like I had a voice or a community in which I truly belonged. I had dabbled in athletics and other areas of the school but still felt lost. Thank God I had put down journalism as a class on a whim thinking it “could be fun.” It was that and more; it was where I finally became the person I had known that I could be.