Growing up, I always have loved sports; everything about it. From playing to watching to talking about them, I soaked it all up. Aside from the physical aspect, I always found it interesting that sports are a way we can learn some of life’s greatest lessons. So, I decided to focus my project on that, and ask others if they agree or not.
I wanted my project to be a combination of one of my passions, what I have learned during my time as an undergraduate student, and an area that stretched my abilities. Ultimately, I chose to make a sports magazine because I felt as though this met all three of my requirements.
I contacted four Athletic Directors from local high schools: Rigby, Madison, Sugar-Salem and Ririe. I talked to each of them about my vision of what I wanted to do. I asked them to pick out two students, a male and a female, who I could interview and write feature stories about. After contacting the high school students, I gave each of them a permission slip for them and their parents to sign and send back. Once I received all the permission slips, I arranged a time with them, either at school or at home with their parents, to come and interview them about their experience playing sports in high school.
For the design, I used a template in Canva. As I would do the interviews and write the stories, I would work on designing a page for each of the athletes. I tried to keep the design similar for each of the schools, but different at the same time. I attempted to incorporate each of the schools into the design. I also used each of the schools’ colors with every feature story I wrote.
For this project, I took all the skills I learned from my time as a communication student and applied them to this project, all of which came into play at some point during the process. However, there were things that came up that I had not considered before.
One thing that I learned, specifically during the setting up of the interviews, was that I should have worked through the parents more. As great as high school students are, they’re not the most reliable. As a result, I had a difficult time setting up the interviews in a timely manner. Everything worked out, but something I will take with me in future circumstances, is to contact the individual that will be most on top of things.
A big part of journalism is deadlines. Yes, I had the ultimate deadline of the Senior Showcase, but in addition to that, I set smaller deadlines for myself along the way. I set one for when I was going to have all my interviews done and all my articles written. Another one, I set to have my project completely done; mostly because I didn’t want to stress myself out the week of the Showcase. Was I still stressed? Of course. But I’m sure if I hadn’t set the personal deadline, I would have been ten times more stressed.
Looking back, I am grateful that I hadn’t learned those things prior to doing this project because I believe there is growth when trial and error take place. If I had known everything beforehand, would it have been easier? Absolutely. But would it have been worth it? Probably not.
This project taught me multiple things I will take with me as I transition from college life to the workforce. I hope to take the things I have learned and apply them in a way that benefits whoever is affected by my work.
One thing I learned multiple times throughout this process is the importance of paying attention to detail. Looking back on all the work I did on this magazine; it wasn’t the big things that made the difference. It’s the small details that made everything come together the way it was supposed to. So many times, I wanted to cut a corner here or skip a step there, but I am so grateful I didn’t. If I did end up doing those things, it could have created a snowball effect and I definitely wouldn’t have the finished product I ended up with; nor would I have been satisfied with the work I did.
Before embarking on the journey of completing this project, I wanted it to be something that was comfortable, but stretched my abilities at the same time. And I feel like I accomplished that. So, I guess another takeaway would be to always stretch my limits. If it’s in journalism, or in any other area of my life, I intend to find my limits and then push a little bit more. Doing the entire design portion of the magazine stretched my abilities more than any other part of the project. I’ll admit, I doubted, at times if I could do it or not. But hard work and determination always prevail. It wasn’t about having the vision of the finished product straight from the get-go, but about having an idea and putting one foot in front of the other until my right foot told my left foot to go turn down a different road.
I learned many more things while working on my project this semester; more so about myself and my abilities, rather than journalistic and design skills. I am grateful for this process. I am grateful for everything from spending my Saturdays in the library designing to driving to the students’ houses and schools to interview them. Most of all, the relationships I made are what I will remember the most, when I am sitting on the couch 20 years down the road. So, I guess you could say that is my third and final takeaway that I will talk about. In my opinion, it’s not so much about what you do and your accomplishments, but who’s lives you touch by the connections you make.