A little more than two years ago, I was looking for something productive to do with my summer. Despite my desire to spend each day having Netflix marathons with friends and learning to drive, I knew that those activities would not be enough to hold my attention during two months of free time. Feeling too old for camp, I looked through my school’s list of possible internships for students and took notice of the countless “now hiring” signs in yogurt shop windows. The internships that my school provided, however, didn’t suit my interests and the yogurt-serving positions were similarly unappealing at the time.
I’m not quite sure how I decided to contact the Daily Journal about available positions, but it was a strong interest in writing and a general fondness for reading newspapers that led me to apply. My high school didn’t (and still doesn’t, for that matter) have a school newspaper, so when I was asked to supply writing samples, I sent in analytical English essays that were undoubtedly dull to read, as well as an article on the San Francisco Giants that I’d written for my school’s literary magazine. The interview portion of the application came next and I sat, nervous and intimidated, across a table from Jon Mays as he asked for my opinion on current events and to explain my interest in writing. Needless to say, I was no less than shocked when I received a call offering me an internship.
On my first day interning at the Daily Journal, the nerves from my interview had not yet subsided. I had very little idea about how a newspaper operated nor did I know how to properly abide by the style rules of the Associated Press. However, despite my initial anxiety, it must’ve only taken half an hour in the office until the Daily Journal staff had, to my surprise and delight, launched into a round of trivia. As I started to regularly come into the office, I quickly learned that trivia was commonplace and that the members of the newsroom sometimes interacted more like family than like coworkers, especially in the way they constantly teased and joked with one another. Throughout my first weeks, I learned tidbits about each of the writers as I overheard their conversations. One writer would often sing along to music he played at his desk (which ranged from Madonna to the Rolling Stones) and another writer began to stop by my desk, greeting me with fist bumps. As the weeks went by, I was always asked to weigh in on conversations, which was often centered around a hilarious debate over food preferences or a joking round of suggestions for column topics. Eventually, I was shown a shelf of odd objects that contained content accumulated over the years and got used to each staff members’ routines, whether that was trying to throw bouncy balls into trash cans or relaying strange encounters they’d had at the most recent City Council meeting. As I grew fond of the newsroom antics, I became increasingly impressed that the Daily Journal staff could put out a newspaper every day while still managing to take time to laugh.
As I get ready to leave for college, it’s struck me that the end of these columns and the end of my time at the San Mateo Daily Journal is the first goodbye of many, and a much more meaningful one than I’d anticipated when I began there two years ago. I’m lucky enough to only be moving a BART ride away, but there’s no doubt that I’ll miss coming into the newsroom to a group of people who made me feel incredibly welcome, despite my being, for the most part, about 15 years their junior. As I leave the Daily Journal and soon my hometown, I’d like to thank the Daily Journal staff for some of my favorite afternoons in high school, my parents and friends for their help brainstorming column topics and anyone who ever flipped to Student News in the weekend edition to take the time to read my thoughts on school, the Bay Area and growing up for the past two years.
Chloee Weiner is a recent graduate of Crystal Springs Uplands School. Student News appears in the weekend edition. You can email Student News at firstname.lastname@example.org.