Each week reporter Jeff Darge searches campus for a new club to join.
Staying in clubs for longer than a single meeting has become a luxury for me. It just really isn't something I can do in my search for new clubs. There simply are not enough hours in the day. However, this semester there has been one constant — The State Press.
When I first joined The State Press way back in January, I was nervous. It did not help that I had positively no idea what to write about. In fact, I really felt that I had no idea how to do anything related to journalism. A troubling thought considering my major is journalism.
As time went on, I started to sense some development in my writing. I could finish my stories without fear that I was bringing something that was not up to par. Journalism and The State Press were beginning to seem worth it.
I no longer felt that I was wasting my own time as well as the time of everyone else involved. This was because of the dedication and mentorship of those around me.
Something I discovered while joining clubs is that there is almost always an anchor: someone who cares so much about what they are doing that they are willing to help newbies do the absolute best of their abilities.
Their love and dedication to the craft makes others around them grow and develop. At The State Press, I was surrounded by anchors. People who were willing to deal with me more so than even I would like to deal with me.
I think it was around February when I began to notice this mentorship. I had a story fall through because of a problem I had getting quotes for the article. It was the second time it had happened in two weeks. I was wallowing in self-pity.
I took on journalism, and journalism had won. I was defeated.
One of my editors told me to just focus on next week's story. There was a tone in her telling me that. It said, "Sure, this story was kind of a mess, but you'll get them next week." It doesn't sound like much in writing, but at the time it meant a lot. Did I get that story for the next week? You bet your sweet bippy I did.
The State Press wasn't all self-doubt and personal development. My life is not the movie "Rudy." I also actually had fun. Some of the highlights of my semester came from within the State Press newsroom.
I felt at home in the newsroom. I felt comfortable, and I started to feel like I was part of a massive second family. From trying to sell the teeth in my head to whomever would buy them to my complete inability to correctly spell the word "fourth" on the first attempt, the staff at The State Press made me feel at home.
Finally, it was within the comfort of The State Press that I was able to have the most embarrassing moment of my life.
I was in the newsroom in the middle of a conversation about police ride-alongs. A story came up about a pair of gentlemen who got in a fight after getting far too drunk at a Phoenix Mercury game. I have been to a fair amount of Mercury games in my life and never really equated them with heavy drinking. This might be because the majority of the Mercury games I have seen took place in the middle of the afternoon, but then again, I suppose it is always 5 o'clock somewhere.
I found something about two people getting violently drunk at a Mercury game so funny that my brain did not care that I had a mouthful of Mountain Dew. I laughed and soda went everywhere. By everywhere, I mean all over the editor of the arts and entertainment desk — my editor. Somehow, I still have a job.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @jeffdarge on Twitter.