Writer feels enlightened after day at the office: Job Shadow

Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2008

On Job Shadow Day, I almost gave up on going. The night before I had just about completely lost my voice, and the morning of I sounded like a man rather than a 17-year-old girl. In spite of this, I dragged myself out of bed 15 minutes earlier than the usual 5:40 a.m. wake up call, just to make sure I had enough time.

After going through the process of checking into my station and meeting Nancianna Misner, newsroom assistant and transportation expert for the day, I was whisked off to the Clarion, already behind deadline.

This is sweet! I'm out of school for the day, plus all I have to do is pretend I'm paying attention to my Job Shadow host. It'll be super easy.

Wow, I couldn't have been more wrong. From the supersonic tour of the building to the luncheon at the end of the day, there was a whirlwind of activity.

As soon as I sat down in a seat, after arriving back from watching an interview at the Kenai Fire Department, I was presented with the task of researching the history of Job Shadow Day, writing an article for it and coming up with this column something I have never done before in my life!

I get nervous if I post a blog on MySpace, so you can imagine how I felt, knowing people I knew from the peninsula would read my work.

With coaching from my host reporter Joseph Robertia, I came up with questions for the interview and took notes on how to keep an interview from turning into a yes-and-no answer session.

Calling people with my man-voice was an interesting experience. I learned quickly that waiting is a large part of the reporter's life, since I had a hard time getting people to return my calls.

Since my voice was practically gone, repeating my questions and responses over and over (so I could get the quotes right) wasn't exactly the finest part of my day. The only thing that made up for having to repeat myself again and again was getting to know the people that made Job Shadow Day possible and learning about the amount of work that goes into it annually.

The funny part about living in Kenai though is that it really is a small town. It turns out that Colleen Ward, the woman who began the program, was the very same person who set up my mother and father! That was an interesting twist in the day.

It just proves that living and working in Kenai has some benefits, like knowing people you have grown up with that could help you in your future.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. The strain of talking to people all day had practically rendered my voice useless, but I was feeling good. Running on adrenaline and the thrill of my column and article coming out in the paper, I went through the rest of the evening actually feeling like I had been a reporter for a day.

So, even though I went into Job Shadow Day with a typical teenager thinking just getting by I came out of it with a better understanding of what it actually takes survive in the work force today. The Peninsula Clarion was a great place to spend the day, and I encourage the freshmen and sophomores to consider it for a job shadow in their junior years but expect to work hard and learn something.

This column is the opinion of Sadie Hallmark. Hallmark is a junior at Kenai Central High School.

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