My words have finally become meaningful again


I am going to miss this class over the summer.

Throughout the year, I have written a total of seventeen columns that were published in The Central Trend. All of them turned out to be different—and slightly worse most of the time—than I originally planned them to be, and I have no doubt this one will be the same. Nonetheless, I will try my hardest to eloquently and coherently express all of my gratefulness and love for this class in one final column. 

When I signed up last minute for Writing for Publication in eighth grade, I didn’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this. 

I have always loved reading. From the very first time I opened The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer in second grade, I fell in love, and I haven’t turned back. Since then, I don’t think I’ve gone more than a week without either finishing or starting a book.

I know that the things I have gained from this class are as extraordinarily surprising as they are beautiful. 

My relationship with writing has never been that easy. 

Other people’s words are easier to come by than my own. They’re easier to find and easier to love. Day after day I fall in love with fragments of other people’s minds when I still struggle to even have the motivation to look for my own. 

When I checked the box for the semester of WFP offered to me on my course scheduling sheet, I did it because there were no other electives that I wanted to take.

Maybe it was the last wisp of my second-grade self calling out to me that made me sign up for this class. The girl who filled dozens of miniature notebooks full of words that only somewhat arranged themselves into a story. 

Or maybe it was the simple fact that my older sister was joining, and no matter how much I try to deny it, I still watch her two years ahead and try my best to do everything she does. 

Either way, I’m grateful that I checked that box.

When I joined WFP in first semester, I expected to struggle. And believe me, I did. For the first nine weeks of first semester, all I did was struggle. 

When I walked into room 139 on the first day of school, I never imagined it would be as significant to me as it has become. Now, approximately ten months later, I can admit that despite how cliché it sounds, signing up for WFP was the best possible decision I could have made for myself. 

When I was sobbing at midnight over late columns and profiles I didn’t know how to write, signing up for an entire second semester of The Central Trend class wasn’t even something I was considering. I still don’t know what changed my mind, but two weeks later, I was pouring all of my newly acquired writing abilities into filling out the ‘extenuating circumstances’ Google form, pleading my case to the counselors, and trying my hardest to continue into second semester. 

And so I kept writing. And a large part of me hated it. I had late stories and piled-up interviews that I put off day after day. It was the most stress-filled semester of my life, and I despised myself for choosing to do it.

But then someone asked me if I was going to stay in the class for the rest of high school, and I said yes without hesitation. 

And so here I am today. Writing this column, and like so many other times, I have no idea where it’s going or how it’s going to end.

I do know some things, though. I know that the things I have gained from this class are as extraordinarily surprising as they are beautiful. 

I discovered so much in room 139. I dug up perhaps the last flicker of love I had for my own words and allowed it to finally be gently blown into a flame. 

And now this column is turning into a thank you. 

Thank you to all of the veteran TCT staff members. I have never spent time in a classroom environment that I enjoy more than this one, and that’s all thanks to you. I have never been afraid to ask a single person on the left side of the room for anything that I need, Whether it’s a feature topic, a new rubric, or if anyone has a phone charger that I can borrow. 

Thank you to all of you for welcoming me into your class and teaching me how to not only be a better writer but a better person as well. 

Thank you, Addie and Ella. You two are, of course, my favorite part of this class, and while I know I’ve said it before, I wouldn’t have made it through even one semester without you. My stories would never be edited half as well, and most of them wouldn’t even be turned in if it wasn’t for your constant support and, sometimes, slightly aggressive encouragement. 

We have all grown so much from that first day, sitting in a circle, trying to learn everyone’s names. And even as I write this now, I know that my senior year, I’ll look back on this column and realize what I different person I have become since today. 

Thank you for editing everything for me; thank you for allowing me to have work days and free days and days when all I need is to lie on a desk and read my book. Thank you for spending the year laughing with me, crying with me, and learning how to write good leads. 

Thank you for helping me realize how comforting it is to know that you will be ready to edit my stories at all times of day and night, even if it’s one in the morning and I want someone to read my column for me. 

Here’s to three more years of this class. I can’t wait to spend every sixth hour of high school with the two of you, writing, editing, laughing, crying, and gatekeeping room 139 from the people in our grade who will try to claim it as their own English classroom next year. 

And possibly the most important thank you goes to Mr. George. I don’t think that I am quite a good enough writer yet to express how much your class meant to me this year. It is the most challenging class I have ever taken, and it will be the most challenging for me to let go of three years from now. 

Thank you for the comments on my rubrics and the pop-tarts from your cupboard. Thank you for teaching me how to write a lead and that 500 words really aren’t that many. Thank you for all the times you asked how my day was going, all the waves in the hallway, and all the extremely specific critiques of my writing when I asked for your help. 

Before this year, the idea of texting a friend of a friend of a friend and asking to meet up the next day for an interview would have terrified me beyond belief, but it’s at least—almost—tolerable now. 

Before this year, writing three stories every two weeks would have seemed like an insurmountable chore, but I have grown used to the extra task on my to-do list, and I even look forward to completing them. 

So now, after all those words that probably could have been made more concise if I were a better writer, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who enters room 139 each day at 1:45 and creates this impossibly beautiful space so full of life and a love for words that reignited my own.