A Personal Reflection
By Ava Green, Features Contributor
I am sitting here with no clue what to write this week. This is the last issue of The Griffin this semester and I’ve got nothing. I have written and deleted about four different article ideas and none of them are striking me as worthwhile. What could I say? What do you want to hear? The two questions are circling around in my head and it's making me kind of dizzy. I cannot quite decide what topic is worthy of ending the semester on — it should be something great that everyone will just be dying to read. But what if it wasn’t? Now, imagine if I chose to use my last article of the semester to talk about myself: an article just to take the time to appreciate the work I did in the past few months.
Now, I am lucky enough to say that my friends and family support and read almost all of my work and they love it. I usually write about fashion or travel, and even Taylor Swift that one time. People seem to really enjoy it and I do, too. But I have been wanting to do things that maybe aren’t so... surface level. Something to really make people think and leave a lasting impact on them. How could I do that just by writing about clothes?
My friend from home FaceTimed me a week or two ago and I am not sure how we got to this topic, but I mentioned how I have been writing for the paper. He immediately made me send all of my articles to him and read them all in front of me as I watched, which was even more uncomfortable than it sounds. As I patiently awaited his feedback, I watched him nod and laugh and smile. After reading “How to develop a personal style,” he took out a pen and paper and wrote down notes and quotes from the article. Teenage boys are very mean — especially when you are friends with them — so knowing that his reaction to my work was genuine was extremely reassuring.
Another article that had an immense impact on my writing journey was “Why the World is Mad at Jake Gyllenhaal.” Admittedly, this is one of my most shallow topics, but it ended up being the work that I am the most proud of. You have no idea how many hours of research it takes to get a straight story about celebrity gossip. I also spent a good amount of time trying to improve my comedic and sarcastic voice in my writing: I have always been pretty good at making sure my voice is clear through my writing, but jokes do not always translate well on paper. I was honestly very nervous when I submitted this essay. That nervousness would only ever be beaten by the nervousness on the day it was released. I had it in my head that everyone would think that Hollywood drama didn’t belong in the school newspaper, and I am still not really sure if it does. I am also still unsure of what people really thought of the article. I didn't care to ask, though. I loved it and so did my friends, and that is all I decided to worry about that week.
But of course, there have been plenty of other instances where I have felt more than reassured in my decision to pursue journalism and keep writing. The biggest factor would be my parents. They have me save a copy of every paper I write in, and I bring the newest ones to them every time I come home. A day or two before submissions are due, my mom always gives me some last-minute prompt ideas just in case and my dad actually reads all of the fashion ones (even though there is almost no way he finds it interesting). My friends always hype up my work on Fridays, when they come out. The mailroom staff always has the nicest things to say about my work when I stop by (which is a bit too often); and my whole family back at home is always so excited to see what I am rambling on about next.
I hope for many more articles in The Griffin throughout my time here at Canisius. Getting to write in a non-academic setting at least once a week has been getting me through the stress of freshman year. I have learned so much about how to write casually and for the purposes of entertainment, rather than to be graded. Along with that, I have been trying to learn about why I write and what inspires me. I still do not have a definitive answer on that yet, but we are getting there: article by article and day by day.