Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hello World. It's me, Alex.

So last time I posted here it got, well, heavy. I can't say I was told to post what I had posted, but I can say that I felt severely judged in the wake of the original post so I was motivated to write something to counter it. The original narrative was that I was trying to save a job but to be frank, other than some individuals the district didn't bat an eye. But I still wrote a piece I completely stand behind. That piece just happened to end up being ridiculously long.

That aside, I stand behind what I say. But I do have to say, I spent a week writing that and have been incredibly hesitant to post here since. Being careful about every written word is draining when all you started with was a hobby. Frankly, I haven't done that for that reason exactly. That and the fact that I haven't had a lot of free time.

I don't want too much of a following. I write this stuff for the 3 or 5 people who care what I personally have to think, and I've let some stupidity get in the way of that. So here's what the past several months have been like:

It's been nearly half a year. In that time, I began a job as an RE, resumed my job at the Globe, visited Washington D.C., hosted a radio election night show, interviewed Sarah Koenig, John Rafferty, Josh Shapiro and Diane Rehm, and no doubt have done some other things I'm forgetting.

I feel like it's my senior year again, you know? Running a thousand miles and hour and everything at once feels like it's on fire. And if I've learned anything this semester, it's that it's completely okay to have everything be on fire, as long as you yourself are not actively on fire.

What I mean by that: your grades don't have to be stellar, you don't have to be producing the best journalistic work of your life, you don't have to be producing a lot of journalistic work at once as long as you can keep yourself going. As long as you can keep yourself able to do that work.

I've also been in the process of transitioning myself and the Globe around me for the new semester. I have an incredibly tough act to follow in Josh Croup. He's made a good person to shadow but the expectations with an all-star staff have produced something unlike anything I've hoped to see.

This past Monday was the last layout meeting of the Chief Josh Croup era. And sure, people were sad and moping but I was sitting in the corner uneasy for what this next year holds.

You see, I'm an incredibly nervous person - not for any particular reason, it's just within my countenance to be so. I'm incredibly confident in the staff I've assembled and I think they're going to do a bang-up job bringing enthusiasm and grace to this paper. But there are unspoken pressures that we work through: in 50 years we've never once unintentionally missed an issue. More than half of my section editing team have not been section editors before.

That all said, I need only look a year back - there was no way in hell I should have been a news editor. A freshman? Come on. Let alone Editor-Elect. But I got there because I decided to take on a challenge. And I feel like if nothing else, that's what I can bring to the table here: don't psych yourself out because of a challenge looming ahead.

Reading that back it sounds awfully prophetic and deep, but the universality of the statement holds. Either that, or the fact I'm running on like 4 hours of sleep is getting to me.

I have no business being here, but honestly who ever does? I presented my relatively finalized portfolio - (yes that is a thing) - to my class and I surprised myself at the sheer volume and variety of work that I've done. I think the best thing to do in a situation is to not think too much about the perspective of that data point - what do I mean? Here:

Imagine you're afraid of heights. You're on a vacation with your family and they want to go to, I don't know, some mountain somewhere. You want to tell them no because of the whole heights thing, but at the same time you can't easily get out of this one. So what do you do? You just start driving. If you think too much about where you are in relation to the top of the mountain you may lose focus driving or you may stop - all bad ideas climbing a mountain. And eventually you make it to the top or some stopping point and you look around and it's beautiful - just don't think about the height it took to get you there.

I'm at a stopping point here - I'm not at the top of the mountain by any means and I hope I never am. I am, however, required every semester to take a break and look around.

Before me is an amazingly steep climb. I look forward to it with a slight weariness but an abundant amount of optimism, enthusiasm and excitement for what lay beyond the top.

And so this is finals week. I'm running on an average of 4 hours of sleep per night. My regrets are named procrastination and lack of published Globe work. Amongst others, my new semesters' resolution is to write more, take care of myself more and keep moving forward.

So we'll see. If I'm lazy, the next post will be either the year in review or my first letter from the editor as Editor-in-Chief. That's incredibly strange to say, by the way. Considering the amount of editors before me, that I get to do the 50th anniversary year and that I get to wear the title "Chief." I'm going to up the ante on writing simply to keep outside my own head.

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