Reena Alsakaji: 11,890 minutes remaining

Reena Alsakaji , editor-in-chief

As I think back to the student I was before I stepped foot in the newsroom, I shudder. I remember spending days burying myself in readings yet not saying a word in class, as though I could make up for the gap in another way. I look back at my writing and cringe, with words used as fluff, and my point buried in mountains of run-of-the-mill expressions and adjectives, as though I could somehow lessen the impact of what I wanted to say in the same way I did in class. 

To put it simply: somewhere between my first step into the newsroom and now, I grew a spine.

Before I sat down in N155, the room that would become so familiar to me, I was convinced that I could take in everything without doing anything. Sophomore year, first period English 10. I walked in quickly, avoiding eye contact with anyone in sight. I sat at my desk, twiddling with the hair-tie on my wrist as if I could somehow make my presence disappear. But with every lesson, my mind raced; I wanted to take in everything. 

I never thought my learning was passive, but after Crier, I realized, rather painfully, that it was. 

It was this class that, in part, led me to join Crier, but for the wrong reason: I liked to write. Yet, it was the reporting that felt foreign; even after I joined, I hid under the gaze of interviews over text amidst the pandemic. Then, my first in-person interview. 

I distinctly remember reciting questions over and over again to myself in my bedroom, as I was insistent on not stuttering (the questions were in front of me). I set up the call thirty minutes early (just in case), and I practiced what I would say the moment her face appeared on screen. 

Yet I found, and would continue to find throughout my time on staff, that I did not need a prepared script or set structure.

First, the in-person interview. Then, I wrote a story I genuinely liked. I went to events rather than hearing about them, and I began to genuinely involve myself in my schooling, rather than moving to the sidelines.

It was these concepts—taking power over my own learning—that fueled the rest of my high school career; that fueled this issue of Crier. While I had always loved school, I had finally learned that my education needed to be active.