After the circulation of the school paper, the staff, together with the publication adviser, would conduct a post mortem to assess the paper. We would eat dinner together at the office and enjoy each other’s presence, knowing in the back of our minds that we have to evaluate not just the outputs, but each one’s performance to come up with a good school paper later on. Errors will be pointed out. Questions about certain parts of an article will be raised. It is a moment of judgment.
Post mortem is surprisingly not scary, even if the sight of our publication adviser doing his job in looking for mistakes gives me mini-heart attacks sometimes. It teaches me how to correct people’s mistakes in the right way, and that it won’t hurt much if the intention is to make the other better. The main essence of post mortems is to also recognize the good points, not just to point out the mistakes. I saw how everyone sees each one’s mistakes as something that pushes the staff forward, not as something that paralyzes.
I’m writing about this not to appear affected by the negative encounters; it’s not the errors we commit in the school paper that hurts, but the way others look at the mistakes. There were some people who rubbed these mistakes on my face in front of many people, as if by doing so, their status in life would be higher. It’s the same with life itself. There will always be people who will bash you as if they never had failures in life. There will always be people who will act as if they were the most perfect human beings. These are the people who can penetrate your insides beyond your control; your walls have those holes.
Writing and editing for the school paper are not easy, especially when it’s on a weekly basis. Connecting one’s thoughts in an organized manner to write a good article can be nerve-wracking. There are times when you find yourself staring at a blank MS Word page, not knowing how to start writing the article. The editing process can be very pressuring, too; the editors can be more blamed than the writers when things go wrong. It’s hard to change some parts without changing the writers’ own styles of writing. It tests your eye for detail and your own, built-in error detector.
As much as the need for physical stamina, emotional strength is also needed. You are a student who can drown in school work, a best friend who cannot be physically present all the time, and basically a person who can break when buckets go full. You remember that you have a life outside the office. You remember that you’re a human with different roles, responsibilities, and obligations.
These are things that not everyone can understand, yet I’m hopeful that people will discern that in life, the different places everyone’s in are training grounds. Every day is an opportunity to improve, and it will never be a smooth sail. It’s comforting to know that you’re surrounded with people who believe in you and stick with you through the process, despite the existence of some who don’t appreciate you because of some flaws in your outputs. Taking the chances to become better in anything you’re passionate about doesn’t mean you’re not subjected to falling and failing. It would be really nice if people would not define a person by his or her mistakes, but on how he or she tries to get back up.
There are still around twenty tWS issues more to go (or more) – more than enough chances to become better.
Responding to Her Wordbeats
Andrea D. Lim