After serving five years of my academic career on the yearbook staff, I have some life lessons that I have learned to help pass down to anyone who doesn't see yearbook the way I do. Yearbook staff is a lot of hard work, but it prepares you for the real world.
1. It’s lonely at the top.
Every yearbook staff needs leadership, and that leads to people being promoted to new positions. Everything happens for a reason, and not everyone can get one position. These people are your staff members and hopefully your friends. It can take a while, but eventually, you should be happy for them.
2. You learn all the gossip about the students and faculty.
This was always advertised to me before I joined the yearbook staff: “You get to be the eyes and ears of the school! Your job is to be nosy!” After being a yearbook staffer for five years, I can confidently say it is utterly and completely true. You are working with so many different people throughout the school and you run into people who just love to talk. My advice is to listen to them because you never know what information is going to be beneficial to you.
3. Everyone has a complaint.
I learned this one the hard way. I wasn’t used to people constantly critiquing my work, and yearbook helped a lot with an understanding that their criticism comes from a good place. People who are fixing my work are trying to help me because they see its potential. They want me to succeed as much as I want myself to.
4. Treat people with respect, even if they don't.
People are rude. No matter what you do, some people in this world are just mean. You can even fix their problems and go above and beyond and they will still treat you badly. You have to try your best to help everyone, but also know when it’s time to stop and understand that some people just can’t be helped.
5. You have to be professional over emotional.
Everyone is in high school for crying out loud. There’s going to be drama. Whether it’s friends fighting or relationships starting, people working with other people is bound to cause drama. You just have to keep your eye on the prize and focus on the goal!
6. Every student has a story.
This may seem corny, but it's true. Especially at my school, where it seemed like everyone fit into a category. It wasn’t easy to find a new story for every page. It’s hard to see it by looking at the school as a whole, but after you start to talk to everyone and really try to make a connection, then you start to see how not everyone is the same.
7. You truly see someone’s personality by how they deal with his or her struggles.
The highs of being on the yearbook staff are sending pages and laughing so hard that you can’t breathe. But the lows are low. It’s submitting pages late and getting in fights over whose fault it was. You can either wallow in self-pity or you can get something done. The book is the main priority and your job is to make it amazing, so do it!