Since joining The Scribe in fall 2021, I have been a reporter, opinion editor and — throughout this semester — managing editor. I have had the opportunity to work alongside some devoted student journalists who have taught me the value of making your voice heard as a student, even when doing so can feel incredibly daunting and intimidating.
During my first semester as a student reporter, I remember covering various events around campus with the understanding that I would have to talk to people I didn’t know, ask them questions and even record them. The idea of being “that guy” who overstepped boundaries — or unknowingly represented an organization that others found controversial or distasteful — absolutely terrified me.
In November 2020, I attended a panel hosted by MOSAIC as part of their “Evolving Language” series, and stayed behind to ask the panelists whether or not they were comfortable being included in the piece. It’s a common enough question for a journalist to ask, but I was literally shaking, eyes twitching nervously and hands unsteady, and felt my voice falter as I spoke; I was humiliated by the display, and wondered why it was that my body was reacting to the discomfort in such a visceral way.
I didn’t want to offend anyone, of course, but it was deeper — an aversion to the fact that I was being seen, and shining a spotlight on people who had no idea who I was, much less what my intentions were. How was I supposed to occupy my role with confidence — with that admirable sense of uprightness I saw in The Scribe’s co-editor in chiefs, or the graceful but no-bullshit mindset of our faculty advisor, Laura?
I was perpetually worried that I might be doing something wrong, or that by being a journalist, I was betraying the type of activism-centric writing I was (and continue to be) very, very passionate about. That wasn’t the case, though. I eventually learned that my niche at The Scribe was opinion-writing — which is admittedly the least “journalistic” part of journalism, but still keeps readers informed about current issues and events.
The opinion section proved to be a great platform for the kind of topics I wanted to write about, from the implications of removing LGBTQ+ discussions and representation from K-3 curriculum, to issues of suicide prevention in Colorado Springs.
After one academic year at The Scribe, I was promoted to opinion editor and fell in love with the job immediately. I still wrote in other sections, but predominantly kept my focus on writing opinions — and I was thriving. I saw people reacting to my pieces on social media and in-person, but I didn’t feel that overwhelming urge to hide away; I was confident. I often joke in the office about how being neurodivergent makes working for The Scribe a special kind of torture sometimes, but it is also a welcome challenge.
I don’t get scared when conducting interviews anymore. I overthink after they’re over, questioning whether the way I phrased something sounded stupid, or if my lack of eye contact was construed as rude or inconsiderate — but I don’t let that overthinking stop me from ever doing another interview. There’s power in accepting difficult challenges; it motivates you to keep going even when the very idea of “going” feels impossible.
I have no immediate ambitions toward becoming a reporter after I graduate, but I am interested in becoming an editor, which seems to contradict the idea that I found my “writing voice” at The Scribe, but hear me out. As managing editor for The Scribe, I have had the opportunity to think about the mechanics of writing from an outside perspective. As a writer, self-editing can be difficult, especially when I feel myself getting defensive and impatient. As an editor, however, making changes to a piece is less frustrating and melodramatic.
When you go into a piece knowing your intentions are not to embarrass the writer, or make them feel bad about their mistakes, learning to be a better editor to yourself happens automatically. So in that sense, being an editor has made me a better writer — I have more patience for myself when I make mistakes, and am less likely to feel “stuck” when things go awry.
Working at The Scribe has taught me that writing is a weird journey, and feeling self-conscious is alright every now and again — but you shouldn’t allow that feeling to consume you.
If the copy editor catches a bunch of AP Style mistakes, it doesn’t mean you’re a worthless idiot; it means you’re learning. If the associate editor tells you that a piece reads in a way that differs from the angle you’re going at it with, it doesn’t mean that your capacity for effective communication is dwindling; it means you’re learning how to map your ideas out in a clearer, more understandable way.
There’s something unbelievably special about student journalism, and I am so glad I got the chance to fill a space at The Scribe for as long as I did. Although it gave me 2 a.m. cry sessions and an office that no one on staff seems capable of keeping clean (what will become of the poor office when I’m away?), I am so grateful for the way this newspaper has shaped my experience at UCCS.
I’ve had the chance to travel, make friends with people who I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet as an English major and learn about journalism in a way that makes me feel like I could actually pursue it in the murky, unknown waters of the “real world.”
As a student journalist, I got to explore issues pertaining to the queer community at UCCS and within the Colorado Springs community at-large, and lend this platform to people who haven’t had the easiest time navigating life on campus. It was incredibly worthwhile to me, and I am going to miss doing the kind of work that I’ve been doing for the past two years.
In the words of John Green, “Leaving feels good and pure only when you leave something important, something that mattered to you. Pulling life out by the roots. But you can’t do that until your life has grown roots.”
It hurts to say goodbye, but I also know that the hurt is far from paralyzing. It doesn’t feel like I’m letting go of the “me” that I found while I was at The Scribe — and I think that means I’m ready for whatever the big, swirling abyss before me has to offer.
Senior Abby Aldinger, Managing Editor for The Scribe. Photo by Lexi Petri.