I love being a boss. It's absolutely glorious. People fear me (hopefully) and I get to decide what articles are written, what's published, how it's published, and I'm making connections nationwide. I've learned a lot about people, writing, and myself.
I became the Arts and Entertainment Editor of the Western Herald this past summer. My phone interview was quick and easy because Jax Anger, editor-in-chief, already knew my work and a few of my plans for our little newspaper.
Starting my senior year as an editor was a huge learning experience in terms of people, articles, and classes. The biggest thing I've learned is how to manage people.
Hard truth: Students are flaky. I'm flaky. The student sitting next to me in class is flaky. We have so much to worry about on a day-to-day basis that we can't possibly do everything perfectly.
'Did I remember to do all my homework? I really need to start that 10 page research paper that's due tomorrow. Is the bus schedule running on time? I need more hours at work. I have to finish these three articles by 3 p.m. but I have class until then. What if my car breaks down? What if that smelly guy sits next to me in class again? What if my loans don't go through on time? What if my graduation audit doesn't go through? What if I can't graduate on time? Why does everyone keep asking me about my plans after college? Oh crap, what are my plans for after college?!
The concerns go on and on. Students become flaky because we try to do too many things every day. However, we don't have much of a choice when colleges and employers expect a ridiculous amount of qualifications to find a job post-graduation.
Calling all students flaky isn't fair. I usually don't believe in absolutism, and, really, not all students are flaky. I know a few students who are very involved on campus, accomplish many things a day, and still remain reliable. Maybe they're just good at appearing like they have their stuff together. If so, I need someone to teach me. I try hard to always be reliable, but it's challenging having a job that relies on other people. Everyone makes mistakes, but I try to minimize those boo-boos.
I've learned that not everyone takes pride in their writing. This has been the most confusing and difficult aspect of my job because I have a ridiculous amount of passion for my work. I'm not saying that my writers need to match my energy and dedication, but it's clear that some just don't care (even some English/writing majors). The Western Herald has grown an incredible amount this year and our readership grows weekly. People read our stuff, yet some people remain insouciant about their articles and I don't understand.
I can't comprehend how people lack passion. If people are going to read the words you write, you should have some pride in those words.
Again, I'm being unfair. Most of my writers obviously care for their work and are fastidious with their words. Overall, my section is amazing. They do amazing work and improve daily. I’m utterly proud of them.
I've learned that not everyone will like me and that's okay. I've had to learn to be stern with people, even though being mean usually makes my stomach hurt. If I want good writers and a good A&E section then I have to be tough.
I've learned work is infinitely more enjoyable when you love your co-workers.
Never publish something you've written before someone else can edit it.
I've learned to be selfish, while still being understanding. No one else can give me what I want. I need to take it and I will take what is mine with fire and blood (five points if you get the reference, five demerits if you don't). My first priority is to myself and my future. I have dreams and goals that I will accomplish. No boyfriends/toxic friends/doubts/awful professors will get in the way of that.
Obviously, I've learned more writing techniques, AP Style rules, and how to write with effective grammar.
In a shocking turn of events, I stopped wearing yoga pants and leggings to class and work. If you remember the Great Leggings Debate of 2014 where Jax and I went to war about the thin, stretchy fabric, then this will be a surprise. I'm an outspoken leggings advocate, yet, I can't stomach wearing them to class and work anymore, even if my bum is covered. I want to be professional. I want professors and members of the community to take me seriously when I conduct interviews. Leggings are not professional, no matter how comfortable.
My favorite thing I've learned is to not hold myself back. I can always push myself to do better, even if I'm having a stressful week. I love having the power to write whatever I want. Do I want to write a preview? Sure. Do I want to write a feature? Hell yes. I will abuse that power for as long as I can. If I want to write a feature on an acting student (Sarah West, read it here), or a profile on a WMU student who performed at SXSW (Gino Borri, read it here), then I will (I also learned self-promotion). I'm not afraid to investigate a train crash on two feet of snow and 15F degrees weather. I'm not afraid to interview celebrities at comic-con. I don't wonder if I can get those press passes for that awesome event, I wonder when I will get those passes.
No matter how many people lack passion or how many obstacles I face, my passion will never dim. And I will never stop taking selfies with Ron Burgundy.