When I was a second-year student at university, I took a class called "Story Telling ". I used to dislike this subject wholeheartedly. Like many students, I did not want to go near a newspaper because I did not find it appealing. To my amazement, on the first day of this course, our teacher surprised us by saying: "In this course, you'll have to read the newspaper every day." To make me feel sadder than I already felt, the teacher emphasised "EVERY DAY" more than three times.
Since then, I have gone, unwillingly, to the grocery just to buy newspapers. Waking up in the morning was difficult for me because I could hear my teacher's "every day" tone ringing in my ear. How much I dreaded those days!
Reading newspapers daily was one of the requirements of the course. We were asked to read more than one newspaper, from The National to the Gulf News, and we were quizzed on the articles inside.
Before the quiz, the class always acted funny. All the girls would ask each other which story was the most important in the paper. I would open the newspaper and read every detail, even memorising the byline. I used to be a "Mustafa" (An Arabic expression that means nerd; only 100 per cent satisfies Mustafa!).
At the start of the course, I could only answer two questions out of 10 on the quiz. I was so sad it made me want to laugh. Another thing that irritated me so much was that my teacher kept singling me out to talk about the newspaper. Why me out of all the girls?
I thought it was because I was sitting in the front row, so the next few times I changed my seat, but the same thing happened. I wondered if my teacher sensed my hatred of the newspaper. It was unbelievable!
In my senior year, I suddenly decided to switch my major from public relations to journalism. I did not enjoy journalism, either. But now I know it was because we were not experiencing real journalism. Sitting in class, reading books and assignments were our routine. Nevertheless,with patience, I endured. Ironically, I am a reporter now. Most of my thoughts are related to journalism. Whenever I see something – even if it is insignificant to others – I tell myself: "Oh, that could be a story".
I feel weird now when I do not read the newspaper every day. It has become part of my breakfast routine. But this time, I read it wholeheartedly and with passion.
Whenever my heart whispers "how do some people live without reading news"? my head responds, "don't forget your early days in newspaper class".
How much I hated journalism then. But how much I like being a journalist now – priceless!