Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

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3 things. That’s it.

Embrace not knowing everything all the time.
CJ+Chen
CJ Chen

Three things I wish I had known:

1). Things aren’t always linear.

Ms. Freeman walked into my instrumental music class to substitute and told us about her daughter’s awkward first date.

In journalism, the story you start writing is not always the story you finish with. The sources you were dying to talk with might not have the best answers, and the idea you had on a whim might just become something great.

The conversation in the band room eventually shifted toward class pets, so I mentioned my club, the Fish Club, which keeps an aquarium in Mr. Styer’s room. Ms. Freeman perked up and pushed me to attend an Envirothon (a science competition) club meeting.

I ended up competing with the Envirothon team and on the bus ride home, listened in to a conversation about Rhys Hals’ experience working on a farm.

A farm? I thought. That sounds cool!

I wormed my way in (I was invited) to the field trip to the Willistown community farm with the AP Environmental Science class that following week. This year, I’m interning at Willistown with Ms. Freeman as my advisor. And now, because of this experience, I’ll continue doing environmental studies in college.

2). Trying things pays off.

I joined Panther Press because my friend, Lucy Karn, wanted company at a Journalism 101 meeting on a Saturday afternoon. There, I met the editor at the time and learned how to interview, unknowingly putting this skill in my back pocket for later.

Without joining the Panther Press, I would have never interviewed my classmate for my musician of the issue article, and we wouldn’t have become the inseparable friends we are now.

3). Someone will support your thing.

In more instances than not, if you ask, you will find people who say yes.

I came up with a mural design and brought it to Mrs. Rodgers. This spring, my hands are covered with paint, and the fourth-floor wall looks a little more colorful.

In the times when people say no to your idea, to an interview, or your request to release trout with the middle school, find an alternate route, refine your idea, and keep going (with a field trip to the Camden Aquarium).

At the end of the day, the worst thing that could happen is being told no. Temporary embarrassment is worth the eventual success you’ll find when you find the right people and the right situation. My advice is: go for it. You definitely don’t know what will happen.

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About the Contributor
CJ Chen '24
CJ Chen '24, Reporter
CJ is a senior reporter for the Panther Press. They enjoy teaching their pet chickens tricks, cooking fancy meals, and traversing local parks.
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