04/07/2014 11:26 am ET Updated Jun 07, 2014

The Intense World of High School Newspapers

I never really understood what it was like to work in such a busy, important setting, at least not up until about a month ago. I never knew what it was like to have such an important deadline, with multiple people counting on me to contribute. I never knew what it was like to write in such a way that I captured a reader's attention and convinced them to believe what I was saying. I never really thought I would know what any of this was like, but now, I think I do.

Back in December, I was at my sister's freshmen basketball game, after having just sat through a boys' JV basketball game, and I realized that there was a drastic decrease in crowd size from the boys' game to the girls' game. Then I had an idea. What if I wrote a piece about the difference in audience sizes at boys' sports games versus girls' sports games? I quickly texted my close friend, who is also the assistant editor-in-chief of our high school's newspaper, and asked her about freelancing. She responded very quickly and enthusiastically, and got me started on the process right away. From that point on, I was on a journalistic whirlwind.

After expressing interest to the editor-in-chief and journalism instructor, and filling out a pitch form, I began to think about ways to form my piece. I wrote out a draft piece, and submitted it to the freelance folder on the newspaper's Google Drive before the deadline (which I'd never really had before for things other than school work). The editor and the assistant editor read through my piece, and made edits to it as needed, and even though it wasn't that significant of an occurrence, it really felt like I was part of a real-life workforce. It was so cool. Not only did I get to write a freelance piece, I also got to conduct a poll to add some validation to my opinion, and again, I felt really important as I was handing out those little slips of paper.

About a week or so after the deadline, my friend/the assistant editor-in-chief told me that my story would be going into the print edition of the newspaper. I was so ecstatic, and even though I have the physical copy of it now, I still can hardly believe it. I got to come in on deadline night as all the editors and staff writers worked on finalizing the print edition before it had to be sent out, and see what everyone went through to make the paper a success. To be totally honest, I was amazed. The journalism instructor was really just a supervisor, as the the students ran the entire show, and it was incredibly impressive. I learned so much about writing and technique in that short time that I worked with the staff of the school newspaper. Additionally, I learned a lot about working with people to meet a common goal. Like I said, it was one of the coolest, most beneficial experiences I've ever had, and I can't wait to do it again.