September 6 was the freshman students’ first day at my high school. I was asked to help with manning the spotlights for their welcome assembly. As I watched from my vantage point above the gym, I was struck by how much in my life has changed. Back then, I was a terrified freshman trembling as I walked into my first day of high school. Now, I’m a (relatively) confident senior churning out college application essays. This thought sent me spiraling into a reflective spell.
This inclination compels me to put pen to paper (or, in this case, fingers to keyboard) to reflect on possibly one of the most important lessons from my junior year.
I believe a project is not worth taking on unless I can dive in head-first. Last year, my big project was running the newly-minted school newspaper elective. As the editor-in-chief, the burden rested largely on me to get things done. I stayed up late laying out the paper. I wrote eight articles for the first issue. I edited everything my staff submitted. Each task, in isolation, brings me joy. It allows me to take my most precious skill and parade it around.
Doing everything at once, however, is tiring. The first deadline of the year was kept by most, which made it easier. After a more hectic second issue — I had to to redesign two pages last minute — tiredness turned to weariness. I love journalism, but after a year of missed deadlines and trivial complaints, weariness turns to being burnt out. One thing I struggled with this last year was reconciling my feeling of being fed up — I actually contemplated quitting — with the knowledge that journalism is my passion.
It’s hard to love something that drains you, but it’s even harder to admit it drains you in the first place. Because isn’t that a sign of weakness? Of infidelity to your cause, even? I wanted to quit, at times, but I also felt guilty for feeling that way.
After wrestling with these doubts, I’ve made an important realization: Love is tiring. Love takes time, effort, and patience. Loving something doesn’t make devoting yourself to it easy. Coming to terms with this has taught me that contemplating quitting and losing my passion are not the same thing. I’m human. I’m allowed to get tired. And the shame I felt before realizing this confirms my passion for journalism even more strongly.