Stress nowhere near over but worth every second; Writing my own story

Layton Hillier, Copy Editor

     For the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot of things. I’ve been dual-enrolled, and dual-employed- at the same time. But despite the impact of taking AP and college classes on top of way too much work, I think I’m a better person because of the past few years.

     People talk about high stress and high reward, but I think that it’s a little more complicated than that. I’ve been in a lot of difficult positions throughout my time at North Harford- but I know that I’ve got to go.

     I’m one of those people with a little bit of a love for high-stress situations, so in a lot of ways, I did this to myself. But as one of the losers who spend their free time writing, it was an inevitability that I was going to take Journalism. Just last night I put off doing my math homework for some self-gratuitous writing. I think that if we had a statistics page in our main menu, my written word count would be close to a million- at least. 

     It’s an escape for me, but with so much stress it’s difficult to write for myself. I spend months at a time drifting between topics, wanting to write and express myself with no repercussions. 

     I’m actually terrified of my writing being published. I’m the type of person who will write hundreds of thousands of words purely for my own enjoyment. There are days when my notes app screen time will be higher than any social media, and it’s very common for it to be my second most-used app.

     For as much as I enjoy writing, it’s really difficult for me to sit down and write when it’s for other people, which is what made Journalism a good fit, shockingly. Somehow I managed to be much better at writing when I had concrete interviews to build around, but no matter what, without a distinct character to write about I’m out of my element.

     After years of figuring out how to write for people- and struggling to be understood, I’m still trapped by the attention spans of others. One of the first things you learn as a Journalist is that the average reader will read about the length of a dollar bill- which means that for controversial articles, people rarely bother to read all the way through. 

     This was one of the things that made me avoid writing columns for the majority of the past three years. I’ve written for Op/Ed a lot, but this year was one of the first where I wrote columns- especially about things that I cared about. Sure, I wrote about the occasional sport I enjoyed or that one time I wrote about that really shady nonprofit. I don’t know what happened to them, I do still have the jacket I got for like $5 from them, though. A small win there. 

     As stressful as Journalism is, and as terrifying as letting people down is for me, I’ve become a much better person because of my failures- and successes- both in and out of the novelist world I call home. My storytelling ability has grown over the past few years, and I’m excited to see it continue to grow even more during the next chapter of my life, college.