What I’ve learned in Newspaper

Aisha Al-Refai, Editor-in-Chief

Stepping into the Newspaper room for the first time was the first time, I felt like I was somewhere I needed to be. 

The energy and environment of 260B always felt like a safe haven in my day. If I was having a bad day whatever cool topic we got to cover in class made going to school worth it that day. As a sophomore, I hated high school so much and couldn’t be bothered to know what was going on, but after my first brainstorming session in class, I actually cared about being informed on what was going on in school. 

Journalism class my freshman year was the only thing I looked forward to, because it was my only good elective on an otherwise boring B-day. The day I got my Captain America valentine saying that I made it as a staffer, I knew I would have more good parts of my day to look forward to in the future. 

The bonding experience as a staff is unlike any other team building I have experienced. The memories from our park days with all of publications getting to know each other,  and complete fun exercises made the bug bites and grass stains all worth it. Along with the holy “Food Friday” experience of not starving to death while trying to type up interviews during the mid-day slump before lunch. The thrills of going to sell Ads with fellow staffers and celebrating our wins of multiple colored contracts, or encouraging each other’s less fortunate endeavors and trying again. The most incredible class trip to New York where we got to listen to seminars about how to make a better publication, as well as experiencing unforgettable lifetime memories. Editor work nights consisted of binging Raising Cane’s, while bouncing ideas off of one another for a couple of hours just to make something perfect. Learning the ins and outs of the Adobe Creative Cloud software, no matter how frustrating it got some days, especially when nothing was connecting to the server. It’s a sense of belonging and a lot of incredible experiences that cannot be found anywhere else than within the Newspaper program.  

My junior year was however interrupted because of the pandemic, but being Design Editor that year was definitely the most fun I had ever had, combined with a lot of learning and reshooting cover photos. The countless days I spent trying different design elements for each cover never got dull, and I never lost my motivation to keep trying until I thought something was perfect. If it wasn’t for Reg and the other editors putting up with my ever-changing mind and letting me test out 100 different colors and fonts for things, I couldn’t have done it, to be honest. 

This year, my last year on staff, as Editor-in-Chief, Newspaper always gave me an outlet to write what I was passionate about at the time. Remote learning has always felt extremely lonely, but getting to read, write, and edit stories has definitely gotten me through the hardest year of my life. While this year didn’t go to plan in the slightest, I can wholeheartedly say that this staff did the best they possibly could have in a once-in-a-lifetime situation. For that, I am incredibly grateful for this community.

So as this year comes to a close, here are some things I have learned in the last couple years that I wanted to write out for anyone else to read as well: Don’t ever give up on an idea that you strongly want to pursue. With the work and effort put in, I promise it will be worth it. Never be afraid to ask for help or have someone else look at your work because multiple perspectives make the biggest difference. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to start over, because something done right that you feel good about is always better than hating yourself for not trying your best. It can be very scary sometimes, but don’t be afraid to talk to whoever it is you are afraid to talk to. These connections can accidentally lead to something incredible, like a lifelong best friend. Make the effort to have your voice heard, but also use the same amount of effort to listen to what others have to say.  Most importantly, treat people with kindness, treat yourself with kindness, and have fun, it’ll fly by before you know it’s over.