I’m editing yearbook pages right now. Deadline is Monday. Stress is actually consuming me whole.
But it’s not just the stress – I am unbelievably frustrated by some of the copy these kids have written. I don’t expect it to be perfect (or even up to my expectations because those are very high), but it is so riddled with spelling and grammar errors, misplaced punctuation, and lazy sentences that I want to just write second deadline all by myself.
These people are all around my age. They are not kindergartners I’ve given an unreasonably high-level task. I understand that not everyone is a talented writer, but anybody with an IQ high enough to pass middle school should be able to follow a specific set of rules outlining what tense, structure, and content a caption or story needs to contain.
My adviser said something yesterday after I complained about how I had explicitly said to write in past tense, yet half of what I was editing had been put into the present. I don’t remember her exact words, but it was along the lines of “We have a school full of people that just don’t care. They’re so used to doing the bare minimum.” It was nice to hear someone else voice that sentiment because it’s exactly what I had been thinking. As long as the writing ends up on the page and the grade is achieved, what does it matter how good it is? Vicky will fix it all, right?
I have always been taught to do my best. It didn’t matter what grades I came home with, as long as I had given it all I could. If a C was the best I could do, so be it. Thankfully I’m capable of A’s, but if that wasn’t the case it would have been alright.
And yearbook is no different. I am not going to put all my energy into it because there are other things in my life, and sometimes I slack off, but I understand that I have a responsibility and am going to stick to it.
I do not expect my writers to be as passionate as I am about this. This isn’t the beginning of a career path for them. But it kills me that they don’t take any pride in it, don’t care that when I read over their copy I’m going to have to basically rewrite it because they couldn’t take a second to consult their writing packets or ask one extra question in an interview to provide some background.
I just don’t understand. Why don’t they care at all? Does letting me down not matter? Letting down the photographers when we don’t do well at contest because of writing? Letting down the whole school when they read through it and see their quotes amid a bunch of mediocre copy?
I’m definitely going to have a few words to say in class on Monday. Maybe I need to be a better motivator, need to instruct them better and show them why this matters. But I can only do so much.
~A Frustrated Teenage Poet
**If you read this, thanks, I just needed to take a break and structure my thoughts.