The Daydreamer: growing up and moving on

As an eager freshman walking into high school, I didn’t have any idea about anything, despite my desire to meticulously plan out my high school experience with course spreadsheets and career research.

As I move on to college, I know my four years of journalism have informed me so much of the person I am today and have given me the conviction and confidence to move on and find my way. (Illustration by Karuna Chandran)

I joined Writing for Publication, the journalism prerequisite, simply because I enjoyed writing and it seemed interesting. I figured I would take the class, do journalism for a year, and that would be the end of it. But at some point, I realized that there was no leaving journalism – that it didn’t just work that way. I was in it for the long haul.

When I learned our paper was titled The Epitaph, I thought the name was delightfully morbid. I would not have expected us to be named after the inscription written on a tombstone, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It is our job to memorialize the school. We tell the stories that matter with unflinching honesty. We are the legacy that is left behind to be unearthed from the ground. 

I later learned that the name had nothing to do with my theory, but I chose to ignore that fact because I feel like this explanation fits what it means to be a journalist so perfectly. That’s why I knew there was no walking away from it four years ago.

Throughout middle school, I felt like I walked along the periphery of school life. I may have been engaged in the classroom, but outside of it, I felt lost in the blur of the crowd, with no idea of how to make a meaningful link with the school. But as a journalist, I found a lasting sense of purpose connecting with the student body through reporting. 

I still get a thrill listening to someone talk and thinking about what an amazing ending quote that would be or how it would convey their perspective so much better than I could ever put into words. I still love covering events and having people ask me to take pictures of their group without any clue if they will ever see those photos again (they all look fabulous.) 

As a journalist, I write and write, never knowing who will actually read my work, if anyone at all. Whenever I see people rolling our newspapers up as swords or find them in the trash can (at least recycle?) and I feel a heaviness in my chest, I remember that part of the beauty of being a writer is that I am able to release my pieces into the world, with no control over who reads them. 

It’s peaceful, being able to let go of my work with the knowledge that if someone did decide to take a look, they would come back with more than they started, that they would be getting the highest-quality source of information.

I’ve gotten to write 22 columns for The Epitaph and it has truly been a cathartic experience. Thank you for helping my world grow a little larger with every entry. You are my Epitaph.