Although I started off senior year thinking it would go by at a dreadfully slow pace, I write here surprised that my last column has arrived, exacerbating the bittersweet feeling of my last year in high school. I have always struggled thinking of topics for “Words with Wong,” but I had no doubt on my final topic: journalism.
This class is something I took on a whim in order to fill my class schedule. Expecting nothing coming into it, I leave equipped with more knowledge than any other AP or honors course has taught me.
It all starts with story planning, the day where every staff member contributes his or her story ideas, half of which are thrown out the next day. The next few weeks are grueling. In between the occasional editorial fights and never-ending interviews, everybody is cranking out articles and layouts, good or bad, and praying it will be approved. Fifty edited drafts later, deadline night is here. The night when the people behind the words consume Chipotle and stay at school until 11p.m. to finalize the paper and endure countless curveballs thrown at them, such as computer blackouts, last-minute article flops, and (God forbid) a five column gap. It is all worth it when our efforts culminate in a tangible copy of our work, where we can see and feel our ideas outside of the computer screen.
However, it is the aftermath that is the best part, when everybody gives us a piece of their mind. I have never seen students so insulted by an opinion piece that they feel the need to ostracize—even bully—the writer, even if they were friends before it printed. Sure, some accusations are substantiated but people even get upset by the little things, such as a misspelling or grammatical error, as if their existence is impossible in a newspaper. Yes, it is our duty as journalists to uphold and expose the truth and yes, people are entitled to their own opinions. However, I have never seen people become so self-entitled and forget so quickly that we are humans too. I have never seen some teachers, who students are meant to idolize, become so sensitive and unforgiving—even to innocuous articles. Hearing the reactions of peers and faculty has been the most liberating and strengthening experience in my entire life.
Even so, for every bad reaction, there are always three good ones. As The Bull’s Eye has grown as a paper, I have grown as a person with it. I’ve never stood by something I believe in so strongly before. I have also met some great friends, including soft-spoken Hanna Kang whose views are so fiery and controversial I can’t help but admire them, annoying Yusheng Xia, who has become like a brother to me, and bubbly Emily Leung, who is my better half. Nobody else will understand the stress of deadline night, InDesign mishaps, and unreliable interviewees more than the Journalism family I’ve become a part of. Journalism may have been something I joined on a whim but it turned out to the best decision I have ever made.
It has been a wild ride. And I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.