Playing to win

Consider this my overarching manifesto for the semester, the equivalent of the future King Peter the Magnificent rushing down the hill in the final battle of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” shouting “For Narnia!”

Or, if you prefer a visual:

I spent the first couple of weeks of advanced reporting caught up in my first story, used to my “one-track mind” style of focusing all my energies on one thing at the expense of everything else. So today, I showed up in the newsroom with some ideas, but lacking the concreteness I really needed to get going.

So I had a conversation with my editor, Jeanne, about how I deeply need to get myself organized and figure out exactly what my plan of action is for the semester. We talked a bit and refined exactly what I can expect to be doing for the next three and a half months.

As a result of that conversation, I now have three color-coordinated calendars — a weekly, hour-by-hour planner, a 12-month wall calendar, and of course, my trusty iCal. I bought my own set of colored G2 pens (the brand I use when I want to be a pen snob) and spent a couple of hours hashing out all my class due dates and writing in a number of my own for reporting.

(Just for the record, today I set my own deadlines, made calendars, discussed/pitched an idea for a reporting project that I think will move forward, and ate squash and fish that I cooked myself on the stove for dinner. I’ve been having a lot of feelings that are somewhere between “I’m an adult!” and “I don’t even know who I am right now.”)

calendar

Still a work in progress. These will likely be much more full by the time I’m done with them.

I’m going to be honest, the half hour preceding the buying of the calendar involved a bit of pacing and holding my head in my hands and wondering what I’d gotten myself into. But I sucked it up, went to the bookstore and started getting my life together, so to speak.

This semester is going to be hard.

But I’m ready for it.

I’m going to have to grow up in a lot of ways. I have to learn to manage myself, to be self-directed and self-motivated, to get my newsroom anxiety under control, to manage my time and to work through a lot of the fears that come with being an introvert who wants to be a journalist. Oh yeah, and I have to do reporting, too.

Admittedly, I’m a bit overwhelmed right now, but I think that’s an acceptable emotion as long as I use it to push myself forward. I’ve spent the past year or so learning a lot about myself, and I’m in a much more solid place than I was last spring. It’s time for me to put what I’ve learned to the test, time for me to rise to the occasion and see what I can do as a person and as a journalist. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’ll be so much better for it when the dust settles and I come out on the other side in May.

This semester, I’m playing to win.

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