In my senior year of high school, I used to write regularly in a journal.
It was a requirement of my composition teacher, Mr. Black, whom I still admire to this day. He said it would give you something to look back on in the future when you forgot what it was like to be young.
Now that I’m in my senior year of college, I don’t write in a journal anymore, at least in the same sense. My journal has now grown into a dusty stack of newspapers that I have contributed to in the past few years.
As I looked through this year’s stack, I saw the things I have done, and I finally realized how much I have changed, and how much the world has changed, all in one unprecedented year.
I wrote about last summer’s sexual assaults and an arrest that shocked the community. I interviewed family members of the Big Thompson Flood near my hometown as they remembered their lost loved ones at a memorial. I talked to Arab community members who wanted justice for Palestine and Jewish people who wanted the Holocaust to never be forgotten. I talked to our Congressman the day he decided to resign from the House of Representatives.
I took pictures of the president of our country on the same day the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Salt Lake City began. I chased wildfires, had a wolf kiss me on the face and ate sushi for the first time.
I witnessed a melee in downtown Denver when the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup and was on the floor of Moby when the women’s basketball team secured a Mountain West championship.
I was seduced by the neon lights of Las Vegas.
Just like everyone else, I’ll never forget where I was the day I heard the most awful news of the year. It was both the best and worst day to be a reporter. I’m still trying to make sense of it, sometimes I still cry when I think of all the images I saw from that day. At the same time, I have never more proud to be an American.
Maybe other people aren’t as lucky to have the same printed record of their lives as I do. Not long ago, one of the only things I wanted was a newspaper column and the chance to take a photo or write a big story now and then. I never thought it would be like this.
Maybe, like some of my fellow staffers at the Collegian, I look back now and I wonder: was it worth it? Were these newspapers worth the long hours I worked? Was my lifestyle of living under a constant string of deadlines worth losing some of my best friendships?
I still don’t know. I’m probably too young to be second-guessing the choices I’ve made already, but last year seams like it was another life away. I guess I’ll have one final semester to try to figure things out.
Thank you, Mr. Black, and thank you to all of my readers throughout this year. I hope I have made you think about the events in your lives in a different way. I’ve enjoyed all of your responses and I look forward to talking about more news, politics, sports and life with you next fall. Good luck on your finals.
Josh Hardin is a senior majoring in technical journalism.