This blog post has been contributed by Tulika Misra, Student Editor of Issue 12 (May-June 2013) of ParentEdge.
My experience with ParentEdge in February 2013 was entirely accidental but one of the most challenging and enriching tasks I’ve had to take on. A senior in school put me in touch with Kritika, and soon enough I found myself doing what had been a vague pipe dream for a few years – writing for a magazine. Although it was ironic that I was writing parenting articles when I wasn’t much of a parent myself (I was 15), it was a great opportunity to learn. As Student Editor, I had to contribute four articles – two major and two minor. For the two small ones, I had to write about good camping sites to explore during vacations, and fun educational board games to play with your kids – simple enough. They only required Internet research and orderly, coherent presentation. The big ones, however, weren’t quite so simple.
About 2000 words in length, these articles were bigger than any non-fiction, factual thing I had ever written, save for my occasional frantic catharsis in my journal. But that was rare, and also much easier. The first of the large articles dealt with dyspraxia, a learning disorder which I didn’t know much about to begin with. I had to write about what dyspraxia entails, its symptoms, how to approach the issue of dyspraxia in children, and the issue of the availability and feasibility of quality special education in India. My first challenge was of course ensuring that I had clarity on what dyspraxia is, which involved a lot of reading up and understanding. I had to this for my second article too, which was about the issue of preschool education, and what age is the appropriate age to send your kids to preschool, and whether there even is such a thing as an ‘appropriate age’. After the research, I had to assimilate what I knew and has read into a clear, structured outline to ensure that others had the same clarity.
Then the next big thing came in the form of interviews. Having never conducted an interview before, I was naturally apprehensive about calling strangers on the phone and asking them questions – and taking an interview is a skill to be acquired. Great talk show hosts are great for a reason – they can talk, and they can make others talk. I knew that I wasn’t required to have the conversational finesse of Ellen Degeneres, but I couldn’t let the back-and-forth run dry either.