My first few weeks working at the paper were stressful. I had just quit my full-time job at a place I’d worked at for three years. Suddenly I was surrounded by so many strangers. And these strangers were loud. There was so much movement, so much commotion. There was a TV right by my desk that vacillated among the news stations. It always seemed like the broadcasters were yelling at me. People milled about and I struggled to focus. And I had no idea how to edit a newspaper.
But then I adjusted. And I fell completely in love with the newsroom. I loved the quick pace of the work there. The high pressure. The tight deadlines. The complete lack of privacy.
Without question the people there were the best part. These loud, opinionated, honest people became some of my closest friends (some of whom would leave me sticky notes when I wasn’t there simply to tell me they missed me). I began to see myself in them.
In the newsroom you have to speak up or you will get drowned out. You have to yell across the room to get someone’s attention. You have to back up your opinion. If you don’t have an opinion, you truly have no place in the newsroom. I wasn’t a loud person before I worked in the newsroom. I wasn’t prone to raise my voice. Well, that is certainly no longer the case.
For myriad reasons, grad school was (and still is) a time when I felt stretched to my limit in every way. The newsroom was my haven. It’s where I would go when I needed a social outlet after a long stretch of solitary studying. It’s where I went to complain about boys (obviously). It’s where I went to feel completely loved and accepted. Because there I was completely loved and accepted.
As I became more comfortable with my newsroom family, I found that I also became more comfortable with myself. I came to know myself in a new way. I became a truer version of myself.
I had an exit interview with my boss a couple weeks ago. He expressed his gratitude to me for my time at the newsroom. I tried to express just how dear the newsroom is to me, but I started to get emotional so, obviously to stave of tears in front of my boss, I stumbled through some lame response.
Working in the newsroom was easily one of the best things that has happened in my life. I will never forget my time there and the beautiful people who changed me.