Why did I opt for journalism?

By Zaki Abbasi

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Why did I decide to take journalism? When I was an eighth grader choosing my classes, all I wanted was to do science related electives or something easy. Nothing could have prepared me for what journalism was like. 

Let’s set the scene; you can see me (the nerdy and short middle school student who was way over his head in work and procrastination), sitting on my parents’ bed, arguing about what electives would be good for me. At that time, I was fully fed up with school and just wanted anything easy to ace. What my parents wanted was a class that would be important to my major.

I was required to give six choices in electives and so my parents and I started looking for electives I could possibly partake in. However, we had to make sure that my last choices were also something I might like, in case I got them. We had no trouble deciding my first elective choices, which were computer science, and computer art and design. After some time, my parents and I decided on my last three choices, which ended up being (not in this particular order) guitar, leadership, and journalism. 

In all honesty, the idea of writing for fun in journalism purely disinterested me. I was so sure that I’d get one of my top three choices. Instead, I got journalism. Before I knew it, high school had started, and in the frenzy of the first few weeks, it was too late to swap my elective class with another. Reflecting back, I can only say that I was insane to consider replacing journalism. Journalism is my favorite class this year and  the one I look forward to at the end of the day. 

That begs the question, why do I love journalism so much? That’s because everything about journalism is amazing. The people I was with, the teacher that taught the class, the way we learned, the assignments and even the classroom invited me to continue journalism. Being complacent, I stayed with journalism, thinking that I might gain at least one or two new skills. I was wrong. I earned a long list of skills. (perhaps as long as a page worth of skills from journalism, if the font size was two). I learned everything from writing faster, and more persuasively, to learning about libel and copyright, as well as how to engage in conversation, for an interview. 

Through different required article assignments, I learned how to expertly write articles worth reading in just one class period, about an hour. Yes, just one hour. I’m sure Yoda would say to me: “The procrastination is strong with this one.” However, that’s not to say that I didn’t improve. Writing this now, I’m ahead of time, and I turned in three articles prior to this one before the deadline. My past self from a year ago would be astounded. Six-hundred words? That’s nothing. I can write 300 in 10 minutes. 

Another reason I didn’t choose to leave journalism was because of the friends I made in the class. I found so many smart, funny and good-natured people. Some were my age and some a few years older than me. Friends like Vedant Janapaty, Maxwell Alexander, Amelia Leson, Naimat Davariar, Tina Le, Jasmine Sessoms, Tara Nguyen and Mindy Tuong compelled me to stay in the class. 

Even if I didn’t have the inviting classroom, or nice classmates, or even easier assignments, it wouldn’t compare to what an imprint Ms. Newray had on me. She’s the real reason I’m in the class. She is hands down the best teacher I had. She’s funny, sarcastic (every now and then), understanding and kind. She’s the reason journalism had an appeal to me. I owe all my learning to her and would continue with my newfound love for writing. Maybe one day, I can repay for her for all she has done for me. 

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