By Alexis Ancel // Editor-in-Chief
Almost all of the most important things in my life began as the direct result of not having friends. I think that was funnier in my head than it reads on paper. Regardless, I wish I could say that my desire to write for the Campus Chronicle stemmed from some burning passion for journalism or even for writing, but the truth is that I was lonely freshman year, and my mom wouldn’t stop harassing me until I emailed the Editor in Chief.
I still remember how nervous I was to write my first article. I was terrified of doing something wrong, of making some mistake that would be archived for decades to come. I guess it didn’t occur to me that the editors would make sure it was, you know, edited. I never even picked up a copy of that issue, and I only worked up the nerve to dig around for it on the office computers last week.
I spent my first year as a staff writer, religiously attending every single meeting throughout the year. I made sure I wrote at least one article for each issue, and almost always offered to write “whatever you guys want written.” At the end of that year, I cautiously asked if any editor positions would be available for the following year, fully expecting to be told that they had already been filled by more qualified candidates. Much to my surprise, I was offered the position of News Editor almost immediately.
Looking back, I’m not sure what I was afraid of. I spent two years as News Editor without missing a single deadline, and I was offered the Editor in Chief position before I could even ask for it. I stumbled and made mistakes, but I figured it out. I learned. I looked things up when I didn’t know how to do them, and I asked for help when Google let me down. What made me think it would be so terrifying?
But that’s just the thing: it was easier for me, and I know that. I have been privileged enough to attend small private schools my whole life that have done everything in their power to make sure I succeed. I’ve had teachers and professors who take the time to work with me, and mentors who have recognized my capabilities when I did not. I worked hard and I am proud of what I have accomplished, but I also recognize that I was only able to do so because of the privileges I was given—privileges that millions of people will never even have the chance to work for.
I’ve learned a lot during my time at this school, though admittedly not what I expected to learn. I’ve learned that I’m more capable than I give myself credit for, yes, but I’ve also learned that I didn’t get here on my own. I’ve learned how to acknowledge the bubble-wrapped reality we are all living at HPU, but I’ve also learned how and when to unwrap.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the time I’ve spent here. I’m incredibly lucky to have spent four years working with a staff that provided constant support, forgave my mistakes and let me write 1,000 word articles about Taylor Swift and Pretty Little Liars far more often than they probably should have. I’ve made lifelong friends, spent a semester in Australia and taken classes that change the way I look at the world. I’ve had leadership positions that I never thought I could achieve, and I’ve proven to myself that I can handle more than I ever thought I could.
But there is still a very large world outside these gates, and I have a lot more of it to see. For better or worse, this school gave me the skills I need to enter that world with a lot more confidence than I started with. The people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve had at HPU have made me who I am today, and for that I am grateful. But I’m also grateful that four years was enough.