Melissa and Caroline are thrilled to be Co-Editors in Chief this year. However, this honor comes with responsibility. Although anticipated, these challenges are driving the pair to learn new things and redefine “comfort”.
To me, comfort is a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea resting in my hand. Being alone, but not lonely, comfort is familiar. With peace in my mind and no questions left to answer, comfort is something I seek but can never grasp. And while I dream of the warmth that comfort brings, entering this year was like jumping into ice water.
I am uncomfortable with imperfections, with silence, and with time passing slowly. These things are inevitable, but feel magnified in the newsroom while deadlines approach and news quickly becomes stale. And when you are the leader, these worries become your responsibility.
Although the possibility of leading the class was constantly in the back of my mind since I began writing for Etched in Stone, this uncomfortable idea becoming reality as previous leadership moved on still felt exhilarating. Melissa and I began planning eagerly this summer, but this enthusiasm morphed into anxiety as the school year approached. The doubt weighing us down was not created by distrust in our staff or our advisor; instead, it was the belief we placed upon ourselves that the success of the paper was weighing on our shoulders alone.
In this confusion, I forgot the nature of journalism. The foundation of journalism is discomfort, unacceptable truths that force you to take action. This theory is easily applied to my newfound role.
When you say something that is met with silence or your attempts result in mistakes, all you can do is sit in the discomfort. There is no resisting it, you can only choose to embrace it.
Ultimately, whether it be through the articles we write, the community that we create, or the future leaders we guide, all I wish for is to make a tangible difference in this paper. This definition of success is uncomfortable, yet worthy of all the struggle, doubts, and confusion.
Writing and sharing people’s stories will continue to be priceless to me, and the opportunity to share that passion with other journalists is worth any challenges that come with the title “Editor in Chief”. I wish I could say that being a leader in the paper is becoming easier, more comfortable. Each day still brings insecurity and questioning. But with every one of these thoughts, I remind myself to embrace the changes. After all, the growth that I desire even more than comfort is impossible without a little resistance.
I have hardly ever been the kind of person to push myself out of my comfort zone. Born and raised in Florida, comfort to me used to be playing on the same soccer team I had since I was six years old, spending days off at the beach, vacationing to Disney World, and spending weekends swimming in my grandparents’ pool. Comfort was always having access to the city I spent my whole life in, my family members and my friends just an arm’s length away.
When I moved to Colorado and began adjusting to my life here, comfort changed completely for me. Comfort became spending winters cozied up in the living room with my family, a fire going and a movie on. Comfort became exploring the new nature surrounding me with my new friends, allowing them to push me to expand what I knew. Comfort meant waking up every morning and seeing the sun rise from the east, illuminating the mountains to the west in its vibrant warm glow. Perhaps most unexpectedly, comfort became walking into the journalism classroom everyday and knowing I would never be judged, and that I had a room full of people I loved being around.
It took me some time to even convince myself to retake journalism my sophomore year, much less expect that someday I would be Editor in Chief of the newspaper. I still struggle sometimes with the gravity of the position, wondering if leading the class and Etched in Stone as a whole is too substantial of a task, too easy to mess up.
I thought that stepping into the journalism classroom once again would resolve all of my anxieties surrounding the new position, and it did–to an extent. I found that I was no longer coming to the class just to find stories and write articles, I was there to guide people and, hopefully, leave a lasting impact on the newspaper and each member of the staff.
I had new responsibilities as a leader, and the unfamiliarity of trying to navigate this new role whilst still leading people and providing support when needed has been difficult to get the hang of. I have been trying to embrace this unfamiliarity though, and work through the new circumstances alongside some things that I hope never change in my life.
I know that this year will be tough, especially as I am just now stepping into this position in my last semester of high school. But for every new experience I am faced with, I know that I have my friends and family by my side. I have cozy nights spent curled up on the couch to avoid the bitter cold outside. I have sunrises and sunsets every day to look forward to. Discomfort is not necessarily something to be averse to. Ultimately, it just reminds me that I will always have comforts in my life to support me and push me to keep going whenever things get tough.