By Lorena Grajales, Editor-in-Chief –
As I completed my last week of working for the Echo, I reminisced on the chilly November afternoon in 2019 when I met the News Editor at the time, during UTC’s Turkey Drive. I left Cardiac Hill that day thrilled to think of what laid ahead, as I had just accepted to join the student newspaper as a staff writer.
Although I worked tirelessly that week to prepare for finals and realize my first ever story assignment, it was ultimately not published. Devasting, right? Looking back, I could have quit right then and there when thoughts of hopelessness settled in, but instead I reiterated the phrase, “I just need to try a little harder.”
Fast forward to Fall 2020, I started the semester as News Editor for the Echo, where I covered captivating events such as a Black Lives Matter protest, a democracy rally, a demonstration for a student protestor, early voting for the primary election, and so many others. My involvement in this position provided me with just enough confidence to apply for the EIC position for the following semester.
I had heard about imposter syndrome, which derives from feelings of self-doubt that can override confirmations of success. The beginning of this semester was full of anxiety as I became overwhelmed with these feelings of unassertiveness and lack of confidence to take on this leadership position.
I discovered that as soon as I ceased to worry about the mistakes I could make, and instead focused on what I loved about the Echo – covering breaking news, editing, storytelling, interviewing, building personal connections and more – imposter syndrome had no place in my heart or mind. As one of my favorite songs goes, “…it ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb.” The experiential learning I acquired by working in this role exceeded my expectations, and I will carry the lessons learned with me, evermore.
I am immensely grateful to every student, faculty and staff member who has at any point read our publications. It is through these articles that we as students represent the university, the community and ourselves. I am thankful to any person who ever took time out of their day to sit down for an interview with me, and to those who mentored me to offer the best version of myself for the Echo.
To the editors and staff writers I worked with, thank you for your level of dedication and care to this newspaper that made my experience all the more pleasurable. I am beyond ecstatic for the future of the Echo, knowing it is in the adequate, capable and skilled hands of a brilliant group of professional individuals.