Why I loved rewriting until I got it right

Working on my experience article for web week. Photo by Alex Feng

When family and friends ask where I see myself in five years, I hurriedly change the topic or say I still have time to figure it out before applying to college. Senior year is drawing near, and I know those responses won’t work much longer. The future seems so distant to me. The only thing I know is I want to have a positive impact on the world.

I have always loved telling stories and producing my school’s weekly television broadcast. But I didn’t know if journalism was going to be my outlet for that positive impact. Coming into the cherub program, I had two main goals: to improve my writing and reporting skills and to decide whether I wanted to follow the journalistic path.

The first two days of cherubs were a whirlwind. Between writing stories and meeting everyone, I devoted all my energy to keeping up. I am a perfectionist. I feel compelled to get everything right on the first go. During the lede-writing class, I tried my hardest to get it right. Instead, I ran back and forth from the classroom to my instructor, rushing to have my lede checked only to have it marked wrong.

Hands flying across the keyboard to type out my next attempt even faster, I returned to my instructor with even more determination. After more tries, I was finally done. I felt proud, as if I had just completed a death-defying stunt and landed straight on my feet.

I never expected to get an adrenaline rush from taking notes on breaking news events and then rushing back to a writing room to write the lede. But I did. I loved writing ledes. I had my “aha” moment.

That feeling intensified as the program continued. The trend story involved interviewing strangers from across the country. The guest speakers inspired me, including Tyler Pager, a Bloomberg political correspondent who sat in the same Fisk Hall seats as a cherub only a short time ago. Every assignment and every journalist showed me how I can try to change the world through reporting and writing the truth, and begin creating change only a few short years from now.

My future is still uncertain. I still don’t know many things about who I am and who I wish to be. What I do know is that not only do I want to improve the world, I want to use journalism to do it.