I was in this Extreme Alaska class last week when my professor asked me if I knew that I had an overdue assignment. Yes, I knew I had an overdue assignment, so I hemmed and hawed about how I would get it in as soon as I could.
“Oh, I’m not worried,” she said, clearly seeing right through my hesitance to answer the question. She continued, “I’m just wondering if you were going by the schedule at all or if you’re just marching to the beat of your own drum.”
Marching to the beat of my own drum… yeah. Yeah! That sounds cool! It sounds very freelance, very edgy. I had recently covered a story about new banners on campus, a story that didn’t align with any assignment that was due. While trying to upload it, I stumbled on three breaking news stories with Teri and Logan about the power outage on campus and the steam leak in Wickersham Hall. On top of that, I’ve had 2 other stories in my back pocket where it has been nearly impossible to get interviews. (note: “it has been nearly impossible” is a phrase which here means “I stopped trying after one phone call.”)
I’ve also been trying to breathe some life into the empty lungs of the “Bored In The ‘Banks” calendar, a project that I liken to a perpetually hungry and irritable baby. While I want it to do well, I occasionally wish that it could feed itself or that I could just roll over in bed and tap someone mumbling, “It’s your turn.”
All of those projects were off the cuff and have (hopefully) done wonders for my extra credit. But this class isn’t really about extra credit or freelancing or beating my own drum. This class is about working in a newsroom with 15 other people who have, so far, been holding up their part of the bargain. Sure, we only see each other thrice a week for an hour, but we’re all supposed to be in this together and it’s not fair for me to flounce about and upload stories when I feel like it. That’s not how it’s supposed to work here and that’s not how life is going to work out there. (Extreme Team = gargoyles.)
Deadlines are deadlines and drums are drums. But when it comes to this class I’m going to give preference to the former.