And just as quickly as it all started, I find myself on the train platform waving everything away.
To say that the past three years have been transformative would be to liken the sun to an IKEA desk lamp. A store-bought odyssey with plastic wrapping around the edges. A terrible downplay.
I joined the SAS Eye staff as a sophomore, backed by the now-forgotten words of encouragement from my eighth-grade history teacher upon reading an essay of mine. It was on Malcolm X and, now looking back, it couldn’t have been all that remarkable. But I forked up his words and choked on the praise and, as a sophomore, I joined The Eye.
I’ve always dreamt of being an author. To have my name on the cover of something simultaneously glossy and archaic, with the kind of printed text that you could read over with your fingertips. That had been My Dream #1.
Even throughout my adolescence and the subsequent growing pains that came with entering high school, that dream never wavered.
It was, without a single eyelash of doubt, my raison d’être.
And, in many undeniable ways, it still is. But it is no longer enough.
My time as a reporter, one of two Chief Copy Editors, and eventually the Editor-in-Chief of The Eye has been both humbling and life-changing.
The memories turn like mini kaleidoscopes under the sun: running around abandoned school hallways too-late at night, taking a Grab taxi to spend the afternoon after weekend brunch to clock in the final color grading hours, feasting on Shack’s expensive protein bars that taste like chocolate brownies mixed in with peanut brittle that cannot possibly help burn more calories than it puts on.
Stealing cafeteria lunch carts to help transport thousands of dollars worth of film equipment, adopting a frustratingly slow pace when wheeling the Desktop Macs from the stadium field back to the classroom because I’m-not-pulling-another-Aryan…at least not while his little brother ran in front of me. Feeling safe—safe like home, safe like secrets—treading in the marina of long yellow cables and loose tripod stands that carpet the floor of the small office.
Even the scorched memories turn just as quickly: clocking in an easy three hours for a negligible three-second clip. Passing the mosaic mirror on my way to the second-floor bathroom, catching a glimpse of my tired and worn reflection and the productivity that traps itself in the dark beneath my eyes.
If only I could go back and tell myself to be careful, because although criticism does not weigh half as much as praise, it can certainly cost more. Be careful, because even though peer judgment cannot be prevented, it will breed so incredibly ugly in the recess of your femininity and inexperience.
And, no matter how many layers peel away, what will always still remain are the red alarms that sound in my head, my own voice echoing hideously like laughter in a cave to carve the words IMPOSTER. IMPOSTER. IMPOSTER. into my skin.
But even after all the endless after school hours stuck in the Media Lab two hours till midnight with three glasses drained of iced coffee and a stiff neck, all that remains is enormous, arms-wide-open, chest-to-the-sky gratitude.
This class changed me. Being part of this community changed my life. It’s so simple and tragic to imagine what would’ve happened if I hadn’t signed up for Journalism: Newspaper; the best friends I would’ve never met, and the striking passion I would’ve never realized.
Three years have passed. The walls of H215 are no longer a light yellow, but a deep purple now. The coffee station nestled perfectly in the alcove will continue to stand as a reminder of a simpler time I’m leaving behind.
The custom green street sign that hangs above the window into the wall.
In a year or so, I may return to find everything different. But for now, while I still can trace every square inch of it: to all cycles of SAS Eye reporters, to my friends at Studio41, and to Shack, thank you for being by my side and accompanying me on my journey through high school.
It’s been remarkably, and often frustratingly, real.
And with that, I lift my handkerchief.
Editor-in-Chief of the SAS Eye 2019-2020