Looking back at my first article for JSR, it was absolutely terrible. I’m not entirely sure how that got published. Here I am, though, writing my last article for the program that, until now, has been a constant in my life.
It’s hard to believe that my time in JSR is ending so soon. Although I began JSR as a sophomore, I feel as if I have always been pitching ideas, writing articles, editing drafts, repeat. Some may define their high school experience through athletics or debate club, yearbook or orchestra. For me, my high school experience was shaped and molded by JSR.
Because I am now free from the rules and supervision of this program, I’m going to shed light on what it’s actually like to write for JSR. It’s best to get it out in the open: writing articles is not easy. It can be difficult, frustrating, and exhausting. Many nights, I was overloaded with homework, tests, and extracurricular responsibilities, and racking my brain for an article pitch was the last thing I needed on top of my heavy plate.
In some cases, brainstorming ideas was the hardest part about the article process. I often found myself at 2:00AM, staring at a blank screen and mentally screaming, “What can I possibly write about?” Other times, I struggled with juggling all the deadlines. To add an additional hurdle for editors, editing the drafts of my students often left me with barely any energy to focus on my own article revisions.
Nevertheless, JSR holds a permanent place in my heart, and even the frustrating aspects of the program have been instrumental to my growth as a writer and person. From the overload of responsibilities and abundant deadlines, I learned the secret of time management and wise judgment. Pitching ideas for articles taught me to think creatively and to view the world with an ever-present curiosity to learn. As I edited others’ articles, I grew to appreciate different writing styles and became more receptive to communication and leadership skills. Perhaps the greatest gem I gained from my experience in JSR was learning to love writing and to articulate my voice in a way that can be shared with others.
In the fall, I will be a freshman at Harvard University studying neurobiology. Without JSR, I wouldn’t even be able to say this. During a period of overwhelming stress, unrealistic expectations, endless responsibilities, and a hearty dose of teenage angst, JSR instilled in me the skills and values that allowed me to survive high school and come out of it all as a stronger individual ready to face the future.
As an editor, I developed a genuine passion for journalism and an appreciation for the power of an individual’s voice. When the time comes to collaborate with classmates for a group presentation, juggle deadlines for exams and club tasks, and write fifty drafts for my senior thesis, I will be able to use what I learned from JSR to carry me through every obstacle and challenge.
Thank you, JSR. Thank you for preparing me for the future in a way that a high school class never can. Thank you to the reporters who learned from me because I was able to learn from you as well. Thank you to all the program coordinators for pushing me just barely at my limit and for trusting that I could handle it. JSR made me the person that I am today, and none of my accomplishments would have been possible without it.
Farewell, and good luck to all the future students of JSR. You’ll hate it, you’ll love it; sometimes, you’ll want to never touch a newspaper ever again. But you’ll grow from it, no matter what. Enjoy the experience while it lasts because it’s a privilege.