As a freshman journalism student at Waynesburg, I knew I’d get involved with the Yellow Jacket. But for that first semester, I was extremely hesitant to devote myself to it. I’m just a freshman – how valuable can I really be? What if my work isn’t good enough? What if I don’t find my niche? How will I get my other work done? How will I have time to sleep?
Two years later, as a junior, I’m the Executive Editor for the Yellow Jacket. Some of these questions still eat at me – I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Regardless, I know this is where I’m meant to be. A lot of my work for the newspaper is behind the scenes, but I’m making my mark. And at the same time, the Yellow Jacket is making its mark on me. Here are three of the most important lessons I’m learning as Executive Editor, each of which has given me insight into my field, myself and my future.
- There CAN be enough time. The Yellow Jacket is issued weekly. I spend every Monday and Tuesday night with my staff, working far past midnight to create all 16 pages of the newspaper. Then, we spend the day on Wednesday (in between classes) with our advisor, finalizing everything and sending it off to print. I use Thursday and Friday to interview sources and write articles for the paper, and then I spend the weekend attending to all of my other schoolwork and seeing family and friends. Come Monday, I begin again, with classes and a job added into the mix. It used to seem impossible – and terrifying. Now, it’s doable. So far, I’ve found time for everything – though it sometimes means I sacrifice a full night’s sleep. The point is, effective time management is a reachable goal and an essential skill for college and beyond. The Yellow Jacket has shown me my strengths and my limits, and together, we’ve struck a balance.
- Flying solo isn’t an option. When I was named as the next Executive Editor, the most popular piece of advice I got was, “You need someone on your side.” I’m lucky enough to have a whole support team, without whom I’d be floundering. I have a staff at the Yellow Jacket who works with me every day to help make the newspaper a success and my life easier. I have two best friends who listen to all of my dilemmas, support all of my endeavors and drag me away from my work to relax with them at least once a week. I have an advisor who takes a genuine interest in my life, future and well-being, in addition to guiding my every Yellow Jacket step. I’m an independent person, but the Yellow Jacket has taught me that the best results arrive when you rely on others.
- The real world is coming - get ready. The real world doesn’t allow sleeping in until 10 on weekdays. The real world brings constant pressure from superiors to perform well. The real world means being professional, becoming a leader and establishing who you are. More than any experience I’ve had, the Yellow Jacket is getting me ready for that world. I can’t complain about getting up early – I know it’ll only get earlier when I graduate. I can’t crack under the pressure of responsibility – I have to learn to be at my best when there are people counting on me. I can’t be afraid to come into my own and be a leader – that’s what will lead to success in the future. I’m in training every day for how to interact professionally with my peers and my superiors, and I know I’ll be thanking the Yellow Jacket when I leave school and those skills really count.
From being a scared, shy, intimidated freshman to becoming Executive Editor, the Yellow Jacket is, more than anything else, responsible for showing me the way. I don’t know where I’m headed after May 2017, but I know this: the Yellow Jacket has changed me – for good.