By Samira Bokaie
It was a Thursday morning, my mom rushed downstairs waving a newspaper and pointing at the article that I had written only a few days previously; I looked at the byline and saw my name above a six hundred word article about local teen bands, my name for the whole city of Petaluma to see.
This past June I began an internship at the local newspaper, The Argus Courier. At first I was nervous, not knowing if my writing would be good enough to be published. As I began writing my first article the words seemed to flow from my finger tips on to the page, with each sentence my confidence grew; I knew what I was doing and I knew how to approach the quotes from my interviews.
After sending the completed article to my editor, I did not get an instantaneous feeling of accomplishment—it was not until I saw my article published that I knew I was proud of what I had written.
As my internship progressed my writing was completed more quickly and was more refined. I could ask more in-depth questions during my interviews; I could call up complete strangers and be comfortable speaking to them. I knew I was becoming more self-confident as a writer and person.
Each week I was excited to go to the staff meeting and get feedback on my articles: I wanted to know how to improve, what needed to be changed, and how to make my writing style stand out among the black and white page.
Every Thursday the paper would come out and I knew that each person who opened it would see the writing that I worked hard to create, the writing that I was proud of.
This experience gave me a chance to understand how to write in a way that is interesting; it gave me the opportunity to prove not only to others but to myself that writing is more than just words on a page, but an expression of who I am and how I can grow.
The skills that I learned during my internship go further than just writing an article: the ability to convey my ideas in a concise and cohesive way, the ability to talk and get people to open up and reveal themselves, and the ability to accept critiques as ways to improve, not instruments to criticize.
Because of the initial opportunity given to me by my journalism teacher, because of the feedback and critiques given to me by my mentor and editor, because of the positive response from the community, I have gained a sense of confidence not only in myself but in my writing.