Editorial Notebook

My parting words to the club that changed my life

I don’t tend to speak metaphorically. I generally believe that if you cannot describe something clearly for what it is, you don’t understand it well enough to describe it at all. But, sometimes, you need a metaphor to describe something in the only way you know how.

In high school, when my brain seemed to be bursting at the seams, I would write. I wrote long, whiny essays—and many of them featured a similar metaphor. It was a fire burning beneath my skin that I couldn’t seem to recognize. I felt some passion so strong it was as if it blazed through my veins. To quote, “I have a fire in me strong enough to burn down this world and create my own, but I don’t know how to let it free.”

It may have been a bit dramatic, but the feeling of a passion so strong you can feel that it’s there before you even know what it’s for is one that may call for a bit of drama.

Then, I went to college for biology—something I regularly said I loved more than almost anything else in the world. At the time, I had no doubt that medicine was my future, so I went to the school that would teach me the most about it.

In my first few weeks here, I joined the newspaper club to take pictures. I knew nothing about photography and taught myself almost (thank you, Sidney and Brookelyn, for all that you helped me learn) everything I now know about event photography. Then, I photographed a Student Government meeting on a whim, after receiving a message that the person who was supposed to photograph the meeting didn’t show up.

That one meeting sparked my interest (thank you, Justin, for running your meetings in the fun, interesting way that made me want to come back) and subsequently changed my life. I started photographing the Student Government meetings every week, until one day I started reporting on them every week. And then, I became a journalist.

Reporting on the news is something that feels right to me. I care about what happens here and about how it affects students, and I believe that everyone on this campus has a right to know about the news we report on. I work to make sure the things we report on are important and interesting, and our articles are as truthful and objective as possible.

In the last year, I have found that writing and reporting finally makes me feel like I am burning my fire into something. It is what I was made for, and is what I want to do with the rest of my life. But, it burned bright enough that the rest of my life got lost in the ashes. I realized The Poly was the only thing I cared about here, and I lost all interest in my classes.

After making this realization, I also realized I couldn’t ignore something anymore: I do not belong at this school. An exclusively STEM school is not where I will do my best and, realistically, I have known that since I started looking up transfer application deadlines three weeks after I moved in in my freshman year.

So, I’ve decided to leave the place I call home. On this campus I have friends who’ve become family, I know where everything is, I wave hello to someone I know every time I go outside, and I recognize someone in each class I go to. Most importantly, I feel more comfortable here than anywhere else in the world. But, despite all of this, I cannot stay.

This means I have to say goodbye—to a lot of things, but right now, just The Poly.

For the past year and a half, I have dedicated most of my life to The Poly. I willingly do as much work for this club as I do for about two classes. I go to at least five meetings or events a week, pull all-nighters, skip classes, and write as much as I can justify. I annoy my roommate at least twice a week by rambling about my articles or whatever story I’m working on.

I have known for almost a year that I intended to run for editor in chief at the end of this semester, and I have set myself up well. I learned how to take pictures of events, to write features articles, to write editorial pieces, to manage a section, and to copy read our articles. I’ve studied our style guide, our constitution, and our bylaws. I have developed relationships with administrators and Student Government, and generally made Poly a large part of my outward identity. I regularly meet people who stare at me with wide eyes like they can’t place where I’m from until I explain, “I’m the newspaper girl.”

I have my first editor’s corner almost fully written, as well as three different versions of the speech I would give when I ran.

The Poly has also given a lot to me. It showed me that there are people here who care about more than math and science (thank you, Harrison, for being my best friend), gave me a place to learn and grow as a person, gave me a break from the meticulous logic of STEM classes, and gave me something to care about when nothing else I was doing made me happy. I have never cared about something like I care about The Poly, and I’m not sure I’ll ever love something like this again.

This club is where I really discovered who I am, and it was the first time I was truly honest with myself about my capabilities and lived up to the intense standards that I knew I could achieve. The Poly has shown me that I can be good at things other than Biology—and maybe even very good at them. It has shown me that it is never too late to learn something new, or to change your mind.

Joining The Poly was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and leaving it will be one of the hardest.

So, I must say goodbye. Goodbye to our staff—who inspire me, make me laugh, and make me feel like I am leaving The Poly in good hands. Goodbye to the people I have been reporting on for the last year, namely the Senate and E-Board—who are working hard to help students and manage our Union in a fair and smart way. Goodbye to the student body who I report to—who I wish good grades and good lives to. And, finally, goodbye to The Polytechnic—to which I am eternally grateful.