To Our Readers….
March 2, 2012
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There’s a lot of pressure writing something that everyone will see, to share a thought or opinion with the general public. Sometimes, it’s like that dream where you’re at school and realize your not wearing any pants; everything is out there for people to judge. While being confident in your opinion—no matter what others think—is important, it’s never easy to put yourself out there and hear negative criticism, despite how long you’ve been publishing.
In high school, and life in general, we don’t really bare our souls to everyone. As teenagers around other teenagers, we want to be liked, but we are afraid that our natural thought processes, actions and ideas won’t make the cut. We censor our personalities to cater to what others will find acceptable. In a time when we should be finding ourselves, we suppress who we are.
The root of social anxiety comes from the fear of being judged. I’m not sure what it is about humans that make them feel the need to judge one another, but the majority of the time the judgments we make are incredibly inaccurate. We sometimes form opinions from the smallest things, and our entire view of that person becomes based on one little mistake.
Adults have been saying it for so many years that it’s become white noise to us: Be yourself. Be proud of who you are. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
But no matter how hard they drill that idea into our heads, it will always be hard to take criticism.
Even on staff, it’s hard to let others read my work. It’s that raw reaction they have to my ideas; you can see every emotion on their face as they read. The thing is, their criticism is constructive, and they have both the publication’s and my best interest at heart. They will take it in with an open mind and give me their best advice. However, many other high school students will not be as kind. Those who disagree or think the subject is dumb or irrelevant will most likely say so, which reaches us only through the he-said, she-said channels of communication.
As writers, this is not news to us, because it’s hard to tag your name to something others may not like, and people we have never met personally—and may never meet—will read our works.
Bottom line: I would encourage everyone who has feedback, be it positive or negative, to take advantage of Letters to the Editor. We want ideas to flow both ways—a conversation, if you will. We want your solid opinions to reply to and to grow from.