Every day on my walk to one of my classes in the University Lecture Hall, I would stare longingly at a sign in front of The Highlander newspaper’s office that read “Weekly Monday Writer’s Meetings at 5:15 p.m.” I was the editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper but I have also always been painfully shy. Journalism was something I was always passionate about and joining The Highlander sounded like a dream, I just had to gain the confidence to simply walk through the door. When I finally found the courage and took my first steps into The Highlander office, the trajectory of my entire college experience was transformed for the better.
As I prepare to finally walk across the stage at graduation, I am reflecting on my four years at The Highlander. I went from a confused contributing writer, to the assistant news editor, the news editor and eventually being elected as the 2020-2021 editor-in-chief. I never imagined that walking into my first writer’s meeting would lead to me eventually becoming the editor-in-chief. I also never could have imagined that I would only enjoy two full years at The Highlander and that the rest of my time would be cut short because of a global pandemic. Serving as the editor-in-chief completely online crushed many of my dreams and goals. But I learned to roll with the punches and despite the hardships of the last year and a half, my four years at The Highlander will always be regarded as the highlight of my college career.
I vividly remember the day I officially transitioned from a contributing writer to the assistant news editor and moved into my office for the first time. I removed absolutely everything my predecessors had in the office previously and completely redecorated to make the office my own. While everyone laughed that I transformed the office so quickly and eagerly, it paid off when I jokingly won “Most Likely to Become an Interior Designer” at our winter banquet.
While at the time Sunday productions were the most dreaded thing, especially with the constant fear of the computers crashing which would inevitably lead to a workday that would end at 2 a.m., I now would do anything to experience one in-person prod just one more time.
I will always fondly and disgustingly remember the raggedy couch in The Highlander’s lobby and everyone’s hesitation to sit on it for too long. I will jokingly recall the number of people who sat in the infamous armchair that had a broken leg and would subsequently collapse on the floor. I will annoyingly remember all the jokes and off-topic conversations in the lobby when we should have been working but that I secretly enjoyed. I will remember staying at ASUCR meetings every week, exhausted beyond repair, but doing my best to report on our student government. And while this job caused me more anxiety and stress than I could have ever imagined, the pride in reading one of my finished products was always worth it. I wrote more than 150 articles for The Highlander, produced 30 issues as the editor-in-chief and gained lifelong memories and experiences, despite how untraditional my experiences were.
It’s impossible to sum up my four years at The Highlander in one short article. It’s impossible to put into words how this organization has shaped who I am today. As I write this article with tears in my eyes and reminisce on the friendships, memories, experiences and connections made, all I can think to say is: thank you.