Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

16 Apr 2005, 20:24 p.m.

The Presses

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2005 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I've scrap-booked my first two columns and am writing the third. People who know about scrapbooking (viz., all of Leonard's relatives) should feel free to email me with advice on preserving newspaper clippings.

The last time I did this was high school. In my high school journalism class, at the end of each semester, we created portfolios of our articles and submitted them for review by real reporters and editors from area newspapers. I snipped out my best news, opinion, feature, and sports articles, plus the one that had changed the most from inception to print, the one I liked the most, and the one I thought was best overall. (I never had enough sports stories.) In an unusual (for high school) move, the teacher did not look over our shoulders to check that we'd fulfilled our breadth requirements before we turned them in. He held us responsible for checking them ourselves.

The whole process, like much of that class, disoriented me. I was good at memorizing and regurgitating facts and formulae, or at performing very structured and supervised tasks. But at the newspaper I had to take the initiative and solve my problems independently. My teacher was treating us like adults, but I was still a kid. I had no idea how to do that, so I floundered and felt painfully lost for most of the four years I spent on there. (Oh yeah, and my classmates made fun of me all the time. Wow, that hurt so much at the time and I haven't thought about it in years.)

I was so afraid of failure. And yet I was completely fine with running for class president and getting booed by thousands of my classmates. I basically have no idea what was going on in my head. I wonder what I'll think of Sumana 2005 in a few years.