Why making all of you (a little) mad was one of the best experiences of my life

Sarah Darby, editor-in-chief

When I wrote an opinion column called “Football team unfairly overshadows other school activities,” I think it’s safe to say I made some of you mad. In fact, I know some of you were mad because I stayed up the first night the column was posted to JagWire News Online approving hundreds of your supportive as well as angry comments to the website.

But did I really make you mad or did I make you think?

The status quo can be difficult to challenge. Journalists who want to make a difference challenge the way things are all the time. I had hardly skimmed the surface of such a task before that column.

An American author named Elbert Hubbard said, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

Before this year, I have lived my life trying to avoid criticism. A teacher that I have known since elementary school told me the other day that I have always been a people pleaser. Even though I had thought about the topic of my opinion column for months leading up to the article, only your comments later on made me realize what I had never realized before: The problem with always trying to make other people happy is that you lose sight of what makes you happy.

I took minimal risks because I feared the kind of reaction you all gave me in response to my column. However, as hundreds of your voices rolled in, I realized not pleasing all of you made me feel empowered by the courage I found to speak out. As a result, I kept speaking out.

Following my column in November, I continued to challenge the status quo by writing about everything from outdated technology in the district to coaching evaluation procedures.

In my future, I hope I keep saying something, despite the criticism, in the hope that positive change can result from the pieces I write.

In your future, I hope you make people “mad,” because that means you will be challenging the way people think. Do something and say something about what you believe and then you will truly be something.

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