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  • Writer's picturePAYTON HEBERT

Too little too late?

Coming off of a senior year where COVID-19 took away all of my school responsibilities, I came to college with a “go with the flow” attitude, anticipating collegiate coursework to be consuming all of my free time. Spoiler alert, as a communications major, that was not the case. A few semesters into college I realized I had more time built into my day dedicated to watching TikToks and taking naps than I did for schoolwork. Then I considered the money I was paying for those naps and realized I should probably be doing more to build up my resume. I loved to write and was a member of my high school’s newspaper, an experience I was fond of, making the 1851 Chronicle a perfect fit for me. Even with this desire I was stuck on a new problem: was the opportunity to get involved too far behind me?

That question would probably still be on my mind if the newspaper did not find me at a lacrosse game. I went to the game just to support my fellow Lasers, and during small talk with a friend who was a part of the newspaper, I seized the opportunity and joined the paper. At this point there was about a month left in sophomore year, and half of my collegiate career had expired without me having anything to show for it.

Luckily with a small school, it's not time that matters, it's what you make of it. I hit the ground running once junior year began and made the newspaper more of a priority. Without a solid journalism background, I had a learning curve to overcome, which I conquered with much practice, and by the end of the semester I was training to be a section editor. My newspaper connections also allowed me to expand into different campus organizations, and by the end of junior year I had the title of both Arts Editor of the 1851 Chronicle and POLISHED Blog Director.

I still think about how fortunate I am that things were able to turn around for me so quickly. In a year, my college experience took on so much more purpose, and with that purpose came great relief. I finally felt like I was doing all the preparation for the real world that I had been quietly urging myself to do underneath all of the fear. And here I am now, writing the editor’s column. So in retrospect, do I wish I got involved earlier? Yes, but I also honestly believe I ended up in the right place at the right time. There are many paths to the same point, and if I knew as a first-year I would be in this position, I do not think I’d care how I got there.

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