Ava and the Terrible, Very Bad, Class

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Photo courtesy of Ava Spurgeon

Ava Spurgeon, News Editor

I never expected to be in newspaper. On my first day of junior year, after a day of finding my way around the new campus, starting all new classes, and figuring out where to sit at lunch, I just wanted something normal to end my stressful first day. When I had done my choice sheet the previous spring, I learned that I still needed to get my tech credit. I decided yearbook seemed like a good choice, although not for any particular reason. I followed my schedule to room 701 that afternoon, expecting a bright and cheerful yearbook room. Instead, I walked in and was met with cardboard boxes everywhere, not a single person I knew, and a horrifying lack of air conditioning. When Mr. Garcia began class, I discovered that I was not, in fact, in yearbook. Most people think newspaper and yearbook are the same thing, and I was one of those people, which is the reason I never went through with a schedule change.

Very quickly I decided I had made a grave mistake. I hated newspaper. Every day walking to fourth period, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. Not only was it 100 degrees in the room, but I knew that I was going to have to write three articles that needed three interviews each. It was inevitable. It sounds simple enough, but it was something I had never really done, and interviewing strangers was not something I had ever particularly wanted to do either. Eventually I bit the bullet. I eased into it, at first only interviewing my friends, or other people I already knew. Asking someone if I could record our conversation felt weird. It was weird to have to then write 1,000 words on it. It did not feel normal to have editors I had never spoken to before texting me. “Hey Ava! Any progress on your interviews yet? Just a reminder that articles are due this week!”

At some point, the weirdness faded, and I found that I enjoyed the things I had initially hated. I was excited to talk to school board members, or UT public health professors, or even the managers of the girl’s soccer team. My walk to fourth period was no longer filled with dread. The air conditioning in room 701 got fixed. I even liked the things I learned in newspaper. I learned how to properly format stories, how to ask the right questions, how to play Touchdown 1, 2, 3. The little things I picked up from newspaper bled into the rest of my life, becoming so normal I didn’t even notice that all of a sudden, I had started to love journalism.