Ryan Poon / The Highlander

Incredibly, up until the middle of my sophomore year at UCR, I was unaware that we had a school newspaper. Perhaps I missed their table during Wednesday tabling events amidst the sea of others. In any case, I actually did not join The Highlander up until my sophomore year. 

Over the next two years, I was more of a casual contributor to the opinions section than anything else. I had other obligations with my sorority and an extensive internship with a local Inland Empire publication. However, come the end of my junior year, I saw open applications for positions on the senior staff and decided to apply on a whim, now that I had the internship experience to back it up. One written application and interview later, and I was selected as the next assistant news editor.

Little did I know how this occupation would help keep me afloat over the course of the school year as I completed my undergraduate degree at home.

Like many others, I experienced many personal challenges during the pandemic-induced isolation period. Aside from schoolwork, this position at the newspaper was one of the few things that remained stable in my life; it helped ground me in a sense. Though I was not with The Highlander for a long time, I am extremely grateful that I became a part of it.

Of course, I had a wonderful experience, all things considered, but I do wish that I could have participated in meetings and hang outs in-person. I would have loved to host office hours and talk face to face with my fellow staff members, and other contributors. Being able to convene with a group of writers and artists around your age, who are just as passionate and skilled as you, is not something to take for granted. For future generations, please enjoy that as much as possible — and join The Highlander earlier if you can. I guarantee it as a rewarding experience.