Creativity and Service – School Newspaper “The Corridors”

It has always been easy for me to communicate my thoughts and opinions through writing and I like to believe that I am a decent writer too. Writing allows one to express themselves without being interrupted and just feels like a safe space. For our love for writing, I and a few of my friends started the school newspaper as one of our CAS projects, better known as “The Corridors”. We noticed that although the school had a magazine, it wasn’t very frequent, and neither did a lot of students write for the magazine and hence we introduced this opportunity for budding writers, web designers, and artists to improve their skills and have a platform to present their work on. We release monthly editions of The Corridors which include various sections, including but not limited to pop culture, informative articles, opinion-based articles, poetry and art, and newsletters from other clubs. This satisfies the Creativity and Service components. 

LO 1: Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth

Throughout this project, I identified my strength and weaknesses in several areas and situations. For example, I learned that I can be a great leader and communicator and I can work with different types of people. I also learned that I can have trouble with time management which is an important life skill. Being aware of these gives me more insight into who I am as a person and how can I make myself better. I can only work on my weaknesses if I know what they are and similarly, I can only effectively exhibit my strengths if I’m aware of them. I believe that it is extremely important to know our strengths and weaknesses because they help us become a better person. Also, they can allow you to understand what you are and can be capable of. Throughout the project, and even after it ends, I want to make sure I work on my weakness of time management because that can help me everywhere throughout life. Also, if I can manage my time well, I can also help keep others in my team on track and make sure we work together and on time. 

LO 2: Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process

The most challenging part was managing so many people on the team together and still getting work done on time. This was a huge problem when we first started the newspaper because none of us (the editorial board) had ever taken responsibility of such great magnitude. All of it was very new for us, we have to talk to the writers, web designers, graphics designers, supervisors, guest writers all at once and it seemed impossible and overwhelming at first. To overcome this challenge, we started dividing roles. We still took all decisions with unanimous consent but the brainstorming was divided so that multiple tasks could be completed simultaneously. I think having undertaken this challenge taught me to multitask as well as made me a better leader. I believe that taking challenges and challenging your capabilities will allow you to develop and extend your horizons. Apart from that, taking on new challenges always keeps me on my feet and keeps me busy and interested. During the process, I had to interview a lot of people for our team, and I learned that I can be great at making people comfortable and make conversations with them easily, especially in semi-formal settings. I always knew that I had this skill but by undertaking this challenge, I was made aware of my capabilities. Being a people person is an incredibly important skill because you always have to network and meet new people and because being able to comfortably make conversation with others can be very useful. Having this skill makes me feel more confident about myself and how I carry myself in conversations. I think it is important to learn new skills because new and different skills make you a more capable and diverse person, it helps one become more adaptable and become a better version of themselves. 

LO 3: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience

Organization was key for this project because we had to make sure that all team members were working as per the timeline and had to make sure that the newspaper was published in a timely fashion. I organized myself and the team by making spreadsheets and checklists to make sure we were on top of our work. I’m usually an organized person and regularly use lists and spreadsheets to keep track of my tasks so applying that for our entire team was quite easy. I think that initiating the project was more difficult than planning because initially, we came across a lot of obstacles that we needed to overcome and figure out ways that such problems don’t arise again. Planning and organizing weren’t very difficult because we could always alter the timeline based on whatever problems we were facing. I believe that because I have this experience of initiating and planning a project of such a magnitude, it is definitely going to be easier for me to do the same in the future for other initiatives and projects I take up. The ability to plan and initiate activities is a crucial skill because it teaches responsibility and helps us become proactive leaders. 

LO 4: Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences 

The difficult part of this project was publishing new editions every month. This required perseverance from not only us but from all members of the team. Every month, I had to write and edit numerous articles, suggest changes to the website, get updates from supervisors, while doing my normal schoolwork. This project required a lot of commitment because it could’ve been very easy to just abandon the newspaper when schoolwork gets hectic, but instead, we made sure that we give the time that the project requires. It is easy for me to commit to projects like these because I’m genuinely interested and involved in the process. Being persistent towards things that are important to me isn’t a problem for me which is why this project didn’t seem like work, it was like a passion project. I think that commitment and perseverance are vital life skills because without them you cannot succeed in whatever activity you take up. Being persistent and committed also help you improve and master the skill you’re focusing on. 

LO 5: Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively

I love working with others, I feel like it gives me space to grow and learn about different perspectives and allows me to listen to a diverse group of people with divergent ideas. During this activity, working with the team was one of my favorite parts of the project. Being in the background of the newspaper, it is very important for us to make sure that the newspaper reflects a diverse range of ideas and viewpoints, which worked perfectly because we were working collaboratively. Having a team to consult also helped us make important decisions like the structure of our website and what we want our newspaper to convey. Fortunately, our team was very cooperative and understanding, sometimes they needed a push when deadlines were close but that is very understandable. We made sure that the members of the editorial team were easy to approach and talk to so that our team wouldn’t feel like there was a strict hierarchy and so that they were comfortable. I think being able to work collaboratively is extremely important because wherever you go, you are going to have to deal with people and you must be able to work together effectively to get the job done. This project relied heavily on leadership and teamwork because it was a significantly big project which required time and effort and proper management from both our side and the team members’ side. 

LO 6: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance

Our newspaper discusses sensitive issues like human rights issues, political unrest, discrimination, among others. We believe that as writers, we have the power to communicate and enlighten those around us with our words. These issues are globally important and engaging and discussing them helps us create more informed and conscious global citizens. Being aware and making others aware of such issues can help us take great strides towards changing our society.

LO 7: Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions

The ethical issues involved in this activity revolved around respect, accountability, and integrity. We had to make sure that we were respectful to the readers and the team in terms of the language we use and the content we put out. This was especially important when writing religious or political articles because those could hurt other people’s sentiments. We also had to be accountable for all the work that we put out, as in if something went wrong the editorial board had to take responsibility for all of it. Ethical issues involving integrity mainly focused on being academically honest and creating original work. We had to make sure we weren’t copying anything and citing all the sources used. These ethical issues directly affected us because they are a part of running a newspaper. My opinion on these ethics remained the same before and after this activity, but this activity helped me realise how to attend to these ethical issues.

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