Washington University

How my involvement in Newspaper has changed me and given me the opportunity to make a difference in the world.  Reported by Lejla Aganovic


   When I first stepped into the journalism classroom two years ago, the legendary room 707, I never could have imagined teaching the next group of students how to prepare for my job as the News and Features Editor. I hadn’t imagined I would rise high enough in the ranks of Newspaper I’d even have anything other than an entry-level job. Yet, here I am, writing what basically amounts to a farewell letter to the readers of our school. 

  Although I’ve always loved to read and write, when I wrote my first newspaper article, I was not very successful. I vividly remember receiving my first round of edits, paper filled with red marks and lines scratched out as far as the eye could see. I could feel the fragile walls of my confidence in my writing crumbling, the criticism I’d received starting to question the praise I’d received from my teachers.

   According to skillsyouneed.com, receiving criticism can challenge a person’s ideas, character or ability. When taken to the extreme, or otherwise called destructive criticism, their pride, self-esteem and confidence can be negatively impacted. At first, I thought the person editing my article was purposefully trying to hurt me, attacking me at a deeply personal level. 

   Throughout my time in Newspaper, I eventually began to notice what I was receiving was not, in fact, an attack on my character. It was constructive criticism, and according to Asana.com, it is criticism that focuses on providing a person with constructive feedback, along with specific guidance on how to improve in some way. What my peers gave me did help me to grow as a person. 

   There are also those who would say that this generation is not able to take criticism very well, so there are too many people getting participation trophies, no matter how little effort they put in. Receiving recognition for little to no work doesn’t give people the opportunity to improve their skills, and is unfair to those who are truly dedicated and work hard. It is for this reason that criticism is necessary. 

   If I hadn’t joined Newspaper, I wouldn’t have learned how to have effective communication and organization skills or to work within a group. I also discovered how to stop taking words to heart. Talking to a variety of people, listening and empathizing with their stories, and writing about their struggles helped me to decide what I want to do in the future. I plan to become a lawyer and help the most vulnerable of people, making a difference in the world. 

I will be attending Washington University in the fall, which I probably wouldn’t have applied to if it wasn’t for my time in Newspaper. I sincerely hope the people reading this have the opportunity to experience and be involved in such a life-changing activity, as I have.