Senior column: Accepting change

Since the first day of freshman year in August 2016, I’ve been in room 1315 as a journalism student every day of high school. I hadn’t planned on that, but after excelling in journalism class as a freshman, joining the newspaper staff felt right. 

A semester and a schedule change later, I found myself terrified in a room half full of upperclassmen. Trying to stay under the radar and stumbling over my words, little did I know that The Hawk Eye would become my home.

The staff became my second family, and as time passed my connection with some of the staffers grew stronger, and with it, so did my conviction. After three years of working with the same upperclassmen, I slowly transitioned from the odd one out to being an integral part of the staff’s framework. The newspaper gave me a purpose, and the staff, as well as Mr. Jones, provided me with a place where I was comfortable to be me. I was able to apply that comfort and newfound confidence to make connections with new members of the staff and become a decent leader this year. 

I’ve grown so much in these four years as a Hawk Eye member, both technically and emotionally. I’ve gone from just wanting to complete my work and meet deadlines to striving to tell ambitious stories and take risks (and maybe not meet deadlines so much). I’ve learned to work hard and to hold myself and others to high standards instead of being complacent. 

The ending of my high school journalism career is bittersweet. I didn’t get to stress over the latest print edition, go on a last trip, have a final pitch party or spend more time with the amazing individuals on staff. I wanted to walk out the door for the final time knowing it was the last time, maybe even shed a couple sentimental tears doing so. It hasn’t registered that high school is over, and that for the first time in four years, I won’t be returning to room 1315. 

Despite an abrupt end, I’ve made so many wonderful memories and connections, and I’ve written stories I’m proud of. It’s hard letting go to something that improved my life so much, but change is inevitable, and I’m ready for whatever life throws at me next.

I don’t think I can express how crucial my experience on The Hawk Eye staff will be going forward. Every ounce of effort I put into improving my skill as a student journalist and contributing to the newspaper was completely worth it. I may not have gotten to have a conventional goodbye, but I’m grateful for everything else I experienced as part of The Hawk Eye. Run that baby!