Reflections of an Editor-in-Chief

Erin Jenkins, Editor-in-Chief

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Flashback to Freshman Orientation Day, 2011. After the cheesy and somewhat embarrassing games and activities we were forced to partake in, the freshmen got to walk around, find their classes and talk to their teachers.

High school was a big step up for me size-wise. I had come from a middle school of about 120 kids, that was one hallway and six classrooms. I was intimidated by the amount of hallways, staircases and classrooms that Centaurus contained, and I was sure that I would never find my way around.

Okay now back to the story; I had gotten lost on the way to nearly all of my first six classes which was partly my fault, partly the fault of the upperclassmen giving me directions, and partly the fault of the room numbers that make absolutely no logical sense. I was inches from a mental breakdown while I was trying to find my way to room 203, which was journalism, and my last class of the day. Almost in tears, I frantically asked one of the C-Squad leaders, in her neon green shirt, where the journalism room was and she pointed at the room directly in front of me. Relieved, I stepped into the room with a smile on my face, which my advisor took to mean that I was ecstatic to be there, and that wasn’t exactly the case.

I had signed up for journalism on a whim, it was mainly because I needed another class on my schedule and it sounded fun so I figured, why not? For some reason it hadn’t really clicked that journalism meant newspaper, and so as the advisor gave me a rundown on what the staff was going to look like that year, it dawned on me that eventually in the next year I would be “published”, and that thought excited me beyond belief!

Freshman year on the staff I kind of hung back and didn’t write a lot. I turned everything in on time and put effort into it, but I was never eager to see improvement in myself or in the newspaper. I made some really good friends though, and became accustomed to having my last class of the day be something that I looked forward to.

Sophomore year, we had a new advisor, and the newspaper staff consisted of exactly four seniors and me. There was an Intro. to Journalism class taking place at the same time, and the advisor was always busy with them, which left us to our own devices. I was assigned the role of Copy Editor and was in charge of looking over the final drafts of the newspaper, as well as doing several other tasks. The newspaper saw some great improvement that year, and I fell in love with the process of producing each issue. Countless hours were spent in front of the computer making sure every last page was laid out correctly. We had so much fun leaving our handprints all over the Newspaper Room (literally, they’re still under the table and in the cabinet), and I began to really care about the paper and what happened to it. Seeing as all of the seniors were graduating and the rest of the staff were newbies, I was passed the torch and became Editor-in-Chief.

Junior year brought excitement and an unbreakable spirit. I remember the first day of classes I kept looking at the clock, watching the seconds tick by until I could get to newspaper. That year we published some of the best issues I had ever seen in my years of being on the staff. I remember after several Press Nights when we had finally wrapped it up and sent the issue off to the printer, there was a feeling of excitement in the air, like we all knew this issue would be the best one yet. We were actually proud of what went into it and what came out of it. I realize that the newspaper is under recognized and that everyone always thinks I work on the Yearbook staff (which I don’t!), but that year I felt like we were really getting through to people, I felt like something amazing was happening. Each issue had fewer typos and grammatical errors, and I was beyond proud of everyone for all the work that was put in. There’s something about having your hands stained black from folding newspapers that makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

This year, senior year, called for change in many regards. We got a new advisor yet again, there were only two returning members of the staff, and due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to be a part of the class. It broke my heart to have to be the Editor from afar. On top of everything else, we decided to go completely digital by creating a newspaper website and discontinuing printed copies of each issue. That was possibly the biggest change for me because I loved having a physical newspaper in front of me and being able to say, “Look! We produced this.”

Change rarely comes without growth, and that is what I’ve learned from my four years on the newspaper staff. We have to grow and adapt in all situations and we have to learn to love what comes with each change. I know this has become a very long story and if you’re still reading this then kudos to you for hanging in there, but I’m almost done, I promise.

I’ve edited more articles than I care to count, I’ve sat in front of this same computer for more hours than I can comprehend, and I’ve had to deal with more than a little stress when it comes to the newspaper, but all of it was worth it. Being a part of The Odyssey and its journey had been extremely rewarding, and behind each typo and grammatical mistake and probably a few tears, was a whole lot of effort.

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