Oftentimes, on this long road of life, we forget where we’re going. The trees that you pass don’t look welcoming anymore. Your feet may be dragging as you will yourself to keep going—there has to be something at the end of it all. We, as a people, have entrenched ourselves in a “light at the end of the tunnel” philosophy. We feel obligated to finish things we never had to begin in the first place. And when we do realize that it’s not the path we thought we started down—the street signs were just a little jumbled up—those around us rush in and reassure us that it will all get better, we just have to keep going.
I recently caught myself wandering. I had gotten lost on my grand ol’ adventure, but I was sure I hadn’t taken a wrong turn. My time at college over the past two years has been less of a rollercoaster and more of a plain old coaster. It was as though I was a moth and had seen the first flickering light that I found interesting and let it consume me, never thinking to look at any of the other hundreds of lamps in the room. To be quite frank, I got stuck. And this is where I got stuck. The Poly.
This newspaper is everything to me. When I showed up on campus, I threw myself into the making of The Poly and just never left. I earned the title “Stockholm Syndrome” my first semester for, and I quote, “joining and never wanting to leave.” And it was true. I never did want to leave; I wanted to make the paper better. But then disaster struck. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, every editor on the paper that I looked up to and had taught me everything I knew disappeared. Leaves of absence were taken, members quit, and friends just didn’t have the time to commit to it anymore. My good friends Jack and Tyler were the only ones left who had been there when I and, coincidentally, they had started. Although we had an editor in chief, he was busy and burned out. And that left everything to us.
Tyler is the most steadfast person I know. He knows how to get things done well, efficiently, and to the best of his ability, all with a spoken word cap of around 10 words an hour. He is kind, passionate about Sodexo employees serving him his own food at Commons, and an avid Halo player.
Jack is… every pillar I have ever needed. He stepped up when no one else would. He has a heart of gold, is a blue control deck master, and is a best friend. Jack may be quiet with a smile like honey, but he gets fired up about all the right things. He and Tyler took my sass and returned it tenfold (although I’m sure I was the worst offender of pushing their buttons). They were there for me when everything was falling around us.
During the past year on The Poly, I seem to have taken a wrong turn. Although I met some really wonderful people, I think that all of the shadows and uneven ground took a toll on who I was. I regret the stress that life put me under for the sole reason that I do not think I acted the way I thought I would. I know that I am sweet, caring, and compassionate towards others, but this year I was not.
I want to take this notebook to acknowledge everyone on staff. I may have pushed too hard, too fast, and expected too much. Thank you for being patient with my impatience. Thank you for letting me try and teach you the best that I could. Though it may not have seemed like it, everything I did was in the name of my love for you and the paper that I poured my soul into. I tried to help in the only ways I knew how.
I’ve decided to stop wandering now. It’s time that my tenure at The Poly came to an end. As I looked in the mirror and could not recognize the person I saw, I realized that it’s time for a change. I can’t teach you, the Poly staff, anything more. It’s your turn to be the teacher—your turn to step up. I did a lot on the paper, and I’m proud to be able to say that. Still, you’ve taught me more than I could ever have hoped to teach you.
Nevertheless, it’s about time I went looking for the Stephanie that I want to be: a happy one, and a sweet one. So, thank you for everything. Thank you for all of your Tuesday nights. I love you all, and wish you the very best on your own journeys. I hope that if you find yourself lost, you won’t forget that you aren’t obligated to do anything. Not everyone has to have a purpose in life, nor does anyone actually have a map to it all, no matter how much time they’ll waste trying to convince you otherwise. It doesn’t matter if things will get better, if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is your path, your happiness. There will always be other adventures waiting wherever you choose to look.