My phone vibrates in my pocket. It is a Facebook message. The message reads, “Topics emails are due tonight!” I gasped and quickly replied to my co-editor. We agree to meet at the Bathhouse later that day to write the email. Sipping on coffee while talking about American politics, we come up with two pages full of article ideas with descriptions and article links. A few years ago, I never would have imagined being on the board of The First Amendment (TFA), the School’s political opinions magazine. I started off as a casual writer but never expected to be more.
I have always been interested in politics but my passion for American democracy developed during the fall of my Second Form. I signed up for The First Amendment’s email list out of curiosity, but I did not expect to write an article. However, when I read the magazine’s first topics email, I couldn’t resist the temptation to write about Colin Kapernick. I was a strong supporter of Kapernick’s bold move to take a knee and wanted to applaud his courage. I had never written an opinion piece but took a chance. I wrote the article, submitted it, and waited. The domestic section editor never wrote back to me so I assumed that my article had been rejected. However, when I picked up a copy of the magazine a month later, my name was on page 12. Finding myself more interested in politics, I kept on submitting articles to TFA.
Being the person that send out the topics emails has been a surreal experience. Going up the ranks of leadership has taught me so much about writing, editing, and management.
As editor, a big component of my job is to make sure that submitted articles meet a certain criteria. I have to be able to recognize quality writing. This responsibility has helped me hold myself to a higher standard. At the same time, I have had to learn how to give constructive feedback that will help a writer improve their work. Often articles go through a few rounds of editing which means the associate editor and I make comments and send it back to the writer to work on. This process usually occurs once or twice per article which means I have to edit them fast enough to send it back and have the edits done before we start designing the magazine. This is the primary aspect of my job with writing topics emails and transferring articles onto templates being secondary. Having to learn so much has not always been easy but worth while to be part of a publication.
I never thought I would have the opportunity to write and edit for a publication until college but Lawrenceville had a multitude of opportunities. If you don’t want to write about politics, you can write a poem for The Lit or a feature for The Lawrence. Being a part of TFA has been one of the highlights of my Lawrenceville career and I hope to continue writing and editing in college.
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose. Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.