I think this goodbye has taken me longer to write than any other article. I knew I was going to have to write this four years ago, and in retrospect, I should have planned out what I wanted to say. Journalism has been one of the strangest experiences of my high school career, but it’s stranger still to have to say goodbye.
It seems like yesterday and an eternity ago when I signed up for journalism. I’m embarrassed to admit that I joined not fully knowing what it was. When I walked into class on my first day of school, I opened the door, figured I was in the wrong place and walked back out. When I finally worked up the courage to walk back in, it was all I could do not to squirm under the watchful eyes of the editors. I was so flustered on my first day, that if I wasn’t afraid of going to my counselor, I might have considered dropping the class.
It wasn’t until I got my hands on the actual newspaper that I knew. I knew in that moment that I wanted to see my name in print and design my own pages. I was still timid, but I’ve always been ambitious.
There were plenty of things I was expecting in journalism. I was expecting a heavy workload and having to put myself so far outside my comfort zone that it might as well have not existed, but I didn’t really expect to make the friends that I did. I wasn’t exactly looking for more friends. I just planned on keeping my head down and writing my stories. I’m glad not all my endeavors go according to plan because instead I made some of my strongest friendships with people I don’t think I would have ever met otherwise.
The people are why you stay in journalism. You might come for the byline, or the note on your transcripts, or to fulfil a credit, but you stay for the people. You stay to debate conspiracy theories over the blood drive before half the class has had their coffee. You stay to race down the hall on rolly chairs during the late hours of layout night. You stay because you have people to inspire you, laugh with you, and care about you. The community we built is unique; it’s home to some of the most amazing people I have ever met, and that is why we stay.
Journalism has been one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had because it constantly bucked the expectations I had of people, ideas, and myself. But it’s even stranger to have to say goodbye, because as I do, I realize that once again it’s not what I expected. The newspaper was not a part of my life, but rather I was a small part of its.