“Can I twist your arm to take Newspaper instead of Art II?”
Without hesitation, I said, “yes.” Thus began my four-year-long commitment to The Kerronicle.
I stepped into Room 302 knowing I wanted to be a writer, an editor, a real, nitty gritty journalist, but the only things I knew about Journalism the Institution I had learned in that semester of Journalism I. Next to the other newbies and oldbies who lived, breathed and ate journalism, I felt useless.
Pink-colored couches to the right, a row of computers hugging the walls and a group of hooligans sprawled over chairs. Perhaps the thing I remember most from my first year on staff, however, is when the four sophomore boys on staff raided the Snack City cabinets and choked down six-month-old Hershey’s chocolate syrup as a bizarre dare. I was the newbie bystander, giggling silently and avoiding the cell phone cameras filming the whole thing.
That moment embodied my first year: I wanted to join in on the quirks, to venture into the scary territory of designing centerspread, to speak up during story meetings–but instead I watched others do those things for me.
I vowed to return sophomore year a changed staff reporter. I changed my hijabi fashion sense and braved into Room 302 once again. Over the next two years, newspaper transformed into what I would describe it today: quirky, tight-knit and fall-out-of-your-chair-howling-worthy.
I will remember Jason’s U.S. history references and snarky catchphrases. I will remember Durandy and Martinez hell-bent on shipping me with guys (…some of whom were on staff…). I will remember tossing puns back and forth with Phil. I will remember Hadiqa’s stress eating and Phi-Phi’s inevitable eye rolls. I will remember how everyone tried to see my hair at one point or another.
But I will remember the ugly side, too. As Story Editor, the deadline and ad-selling stress, was, well, stressful. And when deadline week came close, anyone and everyone would morph into Godzilla. Many days, I doubted whether coming back for another year was worth it–it wasn’t like our readership was Time Magazine-worthy.
However, it would’ve been unfair to not see The Kerronicle to the end. Someone out there needed to read what I wrote. Teachers needed me to make them cry during interviews. The staff needed someone to be weird, punny and hijabilicious. So I returned once more to the potluck parties and the inside jokes.
I cannot lie and say that the fatigue of being on staff for four years didn’t get to me. The only things that pulled me through were the fangirling sessions over TV shows, the Koala Girl jokes, Anh’s puns, Malenie’s hair, talks about Mark Nathan’s butt, UIL tomfoolery, the Quill and Scroll induction ceremony with Mrs. Negri’s delicious lasagna, reading Julie’s News Flush while using the restroom, and, of course, the shipping. So basically everything that did not involve working on the newspaper issue itself.
I know this Senior 30 has been long enough, but that is because I’m terrible at saying goodbye. I may have been a better artist than a staff member, but Art II wouldn’t have given me a family. I am actually afraid that when I start college, I will become a nomad once again, searching for a place to call my second home. Newspaper taught me that no, I do not need to be more than I am to be wholeheartedly accepted. In less than four years, I went from not knowing a darn thing about Journalism the Institution to making it to UIL State.
To the graduating staff members: thank you for putting up with my weirdness and respecting me as Chief Copy Editor. I’m so proud of all of you. May the parties and puns live on. To the returning staff members: you guys are wonderful, smart and 100% prepared. I am certain that The Kerronicle is in good hands.
Don’t forget me and DFTBA, you scrubs.