I have always been someone that dives into every single part of my life with absolute full intensity. It’s less about perfection and more about giving 100% to the people and activities that depend on me; and it probably has a little to do with my underlying fear of failure. I guess, too, that I really enjoy being good at things.
Growing up, I developed this passionate surge by signing up for everything in sight. I had a dance class every night of the week, plus several hours of softball or basketball or running a club or making sure I wrote a page over the homework assignment’s word count.
In high school, I dove head-first into everything I could consume. I was hosting team bonding as a freshman, joining student council, meeting with teachers in the morning, and taking extra practices. Everything seemed to line up as I prepared for college; National Honor Society, co-class president, a team captain. I planned our graduation and homecoming week and even started a school-wide newsletter. I applied for scholarships in my free time and connected with college coaches for fun. (Okay, I also tried to squeeze in star-gazing with my then-boyfriend-now-husband too.)
The burn out was real. It was as intense as my fervor. I lost a large chunk of my ambitious drive and found myself craving what I saw other teenagers enjoying: a break. That’s all I wanted. My ideal day would be me going to class, then going home. That’s it.
So, as soon as I went off to college, I made it my mission to simmer and relax and enjoy. For a single semester I got to enjoy pouring myself into academics only—there wasn’t a job or a club or time commitment in sight. I took pictures on campus and strolled after class, reveling in not having anywhere to be.
However nice this break was, it became glaringly clear that I wasn’t myself. It wasn’t sustainable, and couldn’t last.
I quickly found a job and an internship for the summer, and started getting back into my old habits.
It wasn’t long before I found the Advocate, CU Denver’s student-run newspaper.
For this, I am grateful.
In my “time off,” or break period, (where I still went to school full time and grappled with independence and living four hours away from my parents and navigating a college relationship with my boyfriend at a different school in a different city) (whew), I grew close with my roommates but did not wander far. I had a hard time making friends in the classroom, where everyone seemed so focus on being there to learn. It’s one of the reasons I loved my classes, but it also made things difficult socially.
When I started working for the Advocate, everything changed. I was a copy editor that spent about 15 hours a week in an eclectic office, getting to know amazing writers and photographers and editors that also called Tivoli 345 home. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with the experience, and threw myself into it as deeply as possible.
I rediscovered myself, in the best ways.
Over three years, I went from copy editor to managing editor to editor in chief. We transitioned from the Advocate to the Sentry, no small feat. And while I built my resume and grew as a leader and learned so much about myself and the newspaper industry, I also walked away with forever-friends. They have been the truest gift, and the most most rewarding element of my college experience.
I worked under an incredibly bad ass, sharp, and knowledgeable woman who I cherished as a mentor. And while going through a referendum, season of campaigning, thankless advocating, a name change, and more academic bureaucracy than two newspaper editors should ever experience, I also developed a meaningful friendship.
Over the years, our doors were opened to many more creative minds and spirits that supported me, helped me, and challenged me to be the best version of myself. A photography editor gave me the ultimate gift of showing up—to parties half an hour away, to birthdays, to the Tivoli Brewery post-pitch meetings, and very quickly became one of my very best friends.
There have been countless others: writers, photographers, graphic designers, and every single editor, all of whom radiate with brilliance and talent, that have made my life richer by their quirks. We traveled together, learned together, and got through one of life’s strangely under-reported challenges: running a college newspaper. Post-graduation, it’s rare to see everyone. But when I get the chance, it’s such a lovely, lively, and engaging experience; I always leave feeling a little more full.
I am so honored and grateful to have met the myriad of people that walked through the doors of the Advocate/Sentry. As my mentors, peers, and people I hired, collaborated with, and learned from on a daily basis—they all contributed to an elevated sense of self, and lasting friendships.
I’m also thankful for the skills I’ve picked up: management, publishing, journalism, editorial writing, collaboration, editing, pitching, administrative duties, confrontation, sourcing, interviewing, Taking Criticism And Not Throwing Up, printing, budgeting, presenting, campaigning, crying on campus, InDesign, making up clever section names, teaching, leading, website design, being a boss. You name it, we tackled it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.