A year and a half ago, I was sitting in my journalism class at Burlingame High School, when I briefly heard about the Daily Journal looking for interns for the upcoming year. I had been reading the newspaper fairly regularly in class, but had no idea what to expect in an internship. I submitted my resume to the editor, Jon Mays, and eagerly waited for a response. When he offered me the position after an interview, I was on cloud nine, to say the least.
Why this backstory? Because this is my last column I will write before I head off to college, so I am going to do my best to articulate my gratitude to the San Mateo Daily Journal staff for its support, friendly personalities and interesting newsroom conversations, my readers for their enthusiasm and responses and my family and friends for their continued support.
I attribute much of my growth and learning to my internship. I learned the importance of being punctual, meeting deadlines and paying attention to detail. But I also learned the importance of asking for help when I needed it. Before I became a columnist, I started my internship by coming every Monday and editing “letters to the editor” and inputting calendar entries. I often got confused at which went first, the time or the address, of a calendar event, and I was initially a little afraid to ask, because it seemed like I didn’t know what I was doing. It didn’t take me long to realize that people were happy to help, no matter how insignificant the question seemed. For that, I am so grateful to have been given the chance to work in such a friendly atmosphere.
And as far as creative writing goes, thank you so much to the Daily Journal for giving me so much bandwidth to write about whatever interests me. I became a columnist to reach a wider audience and spark conversation among my readers. To be honest, though, I didn’t know how many readers I would reach. I had asked Jon to whom I should be writing. When he told me “everyone,” the idea seemed far-fetched. How could teenagers and adults relate in the same way to the same ideas? And I have come to find that they don’t. But that is not what matters. What matters is that they all relate to it in some way. It was fulfilling for me to see people that didn’t even know me take the time to respond to my columns through email. I still remember receiving many wonderful recipe ideas and responses after I wrote my “Vegetarian Thanksgiving” article last November.
As a three-year member and recent copy editor of The Burlingame B, Burlingame High School’s student run newspaper, I can say definitively that my writing has seen great improvement, both in writing style and eloquence. The school newspaper was always most focused on happenings around school and its students, and being a columnist was a new ballgame for me; I could now write about virtually anything I wanted. I have had 14 times to keep improving myself at the Daily Journal, and I hope I have done them justice.
To the staff at the Daily Journal: I will miss you all very much! Thank you for including me in your newsroom gossip and making me feel like part of your family from Day One.
To my readers: The time you have taken in reading my columns and responding to them have meant a lot to me. It is heartening for me to be surrounded by so much positive energy and supportive peers. And thank you to all the teachers at Burlingame High School (some who I never even had as teachers) that made it a point to approach me and tell me they enjoyed my columns.
To all my friends and family, local and all over: Thank you for all your support and for responding to my columns through Facebook and email.
It has been an amazing chapter at the Daily Journal, but now my time there is coming to a close. And as I go to college orientation in a couple of weeks, I will be sure to carry with me the skills I have learned this past year. And most importantly, I will remember to just keep improving.
Janani Kumar is a recent graduate at Burlingame High School. Student News appears in the weekend edition. You can email Student News at firstname.lastname@example.org.