Tight course requirements unfortunately leave little room for Journalism

Scholastic Journalism Week, lasting from Feb. 21-27, is a time for student journalists to celebrate their work and other students' work.  Through various activities, including complimenting other schools on their good work and writing thank you notes to teachers, counselors and students who have helped them, student journalists can reflect on their experiences as journalists.

Scholastic Journalism Week, lasting from Feb. 21-27, is a time for student journalists to celebrate their work and other students' work. Through various activities, including complimenting other schools on their good work and writing thank you notes to teachers, counselors and students who have helped them, student journalists can reflect on their experiences as journalists.

Katherine Hughes, Staff Writer

Last year, as an eighth grader, I filled out the Jefferson course selection form. When I turned it in, Journalism was my third choice elective, while Computer Science, a required course, was my fifth choice elective. Between filling this course selection form out and orientation, I realized there were a lot of requirements to get through Jefferson. This was especially true, since I hoped, and still want, to conduct research in the Neuroscience senior research lab. I started worrying about how I would fit in all my requirements, especially since I had put Computer Science as my fifth choice. This worry only intensified when I got my schedule the day of orientation and realized I was placed in Journalism 1, which I thought didn’t fill any of my requirements at all, and was therefore a waste of class space.

However, after I talked with my counselor at the beginning of the year, I realized Journalism isn’t a waste of class space. Rather, it fulfills the one year art credit all students must have for graduation. Additionally, as I look back, I know my writing, time management and interpersonal skills have greatly improved. Writing weekly articles that must meet deadlines, often interviewing strangers in the process, can do this for you. Additionally, I made lots of new friends. As Journalism isn’t a lecture-based class, I can talk to them during class while working, focus on articles and other projects with them and spend time building friendships with them in ways I wouldn’t be able to if I wasn’t in Journalism.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to take Journalism as a course next year. My limited class space will be devoted to meeting graduation and senior research lab requirements. Although I plan to take Journalism both as an eighth period next year and in Junior and Senior year as a class once again, this experience has forced me to reflect on the Jefferson and FCPS course requirements, and the limited class space of all students attending Jefferson.

In the Journalism class, which consists of Journalism 1, 2, 3, 4 and Broadcast Journalism classes, there are 16 total people. Although there are many more Jefferson students working for the school magazine and website as an eighth period, in a school where the more AP’s you take, the more admiration you receive, Journalism doesn’t really fit in. To get through Jefferson and to get into a desired senior research lab, most students’ schedules are packed to the brim. No matter how much a student might want to take Journalism, there’s often no time.

Had it not been for my schedule conflict, I would not have taken Journalism. Even though the class has given me skills I will need later in life, the multitude of requirements at Jefferson often prevent me and other students from taking this class and other non-graduation-required classes. However, I am very thankful for this conflict in my schedule, because through Journalism, I grew as both a student and as a person. Journalism helped make me a better writer and friend, and it is, and always will be, my favorite class of the day.