May 25, 2024

I remember the first time I walked into the newsroom. I was running late to the Tuesday night Lancer Media Group meeting and when I arrived, the chaos was ensuing. I introduced myself to the girl sitting at the front of the room – embarrassingly not because I realized she was the then editor-in-chief, but because she was wearing the same Bleachers concert tee that I had. I took it as a good sign. 

 At that meeting, I was assigned three stories. I had never written anything to be published before. I thought to myself, “I’m taking on way more than I’m capable of.” 

 And yet, it worked out. Somehow I figured out the writing style I needed to know. Somehow I found sources. My section editor, Jasmine Severi, pushed me to be better. Every time I wrote something that wasn’t my best and hoped would slide, I’d get a message that I didn’t even need to open to know that it, in fact, did not slide. I slowly began to improve. 

 Before the end of the year, a friend suggested I should try to apply for managing editor, a leadership role. Not knowing what on earth compelled them to think I could do that, I debated it until the 13-year-old inside me said, “YOLO.” I wrote up my interview essay and practiced answering any possible question that could get thrown my way. As I headed to the interview, I still thought to myself, “I’m taking on way more than I’m capable of.” 

And yet, I got it. I was the new managing editor the following year. I had no idea what I was doing but I was trying to learn as quickly as possible. Write, edit, design, repeat. There was something different about seeing a product I helped bring to life, something so personal. No longer detached, it was now impossible to look at the paper without seeing the satisfaction that, yes, that shade of yellow was the perfect choice as the lighter one would not have matched the photo underneath and the darker one would have clashed with the text. Or, without the question of, “Is this graphic objectively cute or did I spend too many hours adjusting the size of it to actually consider that factor?” I would look at the paper and only see the thought that went behind every little detail. It made me proud. 

But that year came to an end, and soon it was time for the interview again. I felt like I had put everything I had into that year. This time there was really, legitimately, no way that I could move up the ladder. Sure, I had something to show for my progress, but I still had so many questions. How could I become the edditor-in-chief when I knew I still had a long way to go to reach the level of perfection that the girl who wore the Bleachers tee must definitely have had reached by this point? 

 I was scared. I felt like a poser. I had learned things but there was still so much I didn’t know. I debated quitting before people discovered me for the fraud that I was. I held out for as long as possible. On one of the last days to interview, I tricked myself into getting over my nerves. “I’ll do the interview,” I told myself, “and make up my mind later.”

When I discovered I got the position, I had the same thought on my mind that I had the previous years: “I’m taking on way more than I’m capable of.”

And yet, here I am. Six beautiful (if I do say so myself) issues of the Banner later. 

Yet, it wasn’t because I was able to take everything on. I was right about that – it was too much.

The thing I had forgotten while I psyched myself out with this type of thinking? I didn’t need to. 

I wasn’t alone. 

The only reason I was able to meet the challenges of being an assistant writer was because I had a great mentor who believed in my potential. The only reason I made it through being managing Editor was because people around me had knowledge that I didn’t and I could follow in their footsteps. This year, I succeeded in putting out a newspaper and leading a staff thanks to the people who are so tired of me asking them questions that they probably think there is not a single question I don’t know the answer to anymore. I succeeded especially because of my friends, the girls who made me laugh so hard that I felt like I could get through another day and who made me feel like I belong (Valerie, Zipporah, Charissa, Khaylee, Hannah, Lauren). I was able to do it because people believed in me – and they exemplified the type of belief I needed to have in myself, too. I was capable. And if I stumbled, people were there to catch me and lift me back up every single time. 

Yes, I did it. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and I pushed myself to do more. And we all deserve credit for making those choices. But I succeeded because of the people around me.

As I graduate, I think the lesson that I’ll take away from my years on the Banner is that I deserve not only to believe in myself, but I deserve to let other people believe in me, too. Overcoming the feelings of inadequacy and allowing ourselves to be appreciated for everything we have to offer as ourselves in the present moment is when we really soar. 

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