I have been at Las Positas College for four long years, and if there is anything I have learned, it’s that you have to have thick skin or you are going to crash and burn in life.
I learned some other important things, like how to hone my writing skills and how being a mathematician is not in the cards for me, but this is the single most important lesson that I will take with me as I graduate from LPC in just two weeks.
Starting LPC classes at the age of 14 when I was a sophomore in high school, I was quickly introduced to the idea that you had to excel in classes if you wanted to be the best. I was also quickly introduced to the idea that it’s a lot harder to be the best than it seems, but you have to pretend because otherwise no improvement is going to happen.
This seriously started to play a role in my life when I joined The Express. I don’t even remember my first semester as a staff writer because my psyche has chosen to block out the memories. I do know that I was painfully shy and intimidated by everyone in the room. I was hyperaware of the fact that I was several years younger than everyone else. I just wanted to get in the newsroom, write my article and get out.
Somehow, I got over my fears and came back the following semester as news editor. My confidence grew, and I started pretending to be the best again. As a quick side note, pretending to be the best and being the best are hardly the same things. I have seen the newsroom greats at work, and I hardly measure up. But I can pretend.
Lacking the previous acting experience like managing editor Will Tanner can be proud of, however, pretending can only take you so far. I have made mistakes and bad decisions that have affected the paper overall. I have learned from them and subsequently made better decisions.
Just like every other student at school, I’ve had my work ripped to shreds by advisors and teachers who truly only have our best interests at heart. Unlike probably every other student at school, however, I’ve been the butt of several ageist jokes. Shout out to features editor Kalama Hines — I haven’t been 12 in a long time.
But something that I’ve learned both through The Express and through my overall experience at LPC is that through all the mistakes and the bad grades and the criticism, you have to have a thick skin or you will get absolutely nowhere. Your last article sucked? Learn from it and write a better one. You got a C on your last essay? Find out what you did wrong and rewrite it. You got an F on your math midterm? Don’t go into engineering.
Later on down the road, grades won’t matter. But work will, and your personal life will, and these are both affected by the way you handle yourself when the going gets rough. And the fact of the matter is, unless you get right back in rough’s face, you aren’t going to make it.
So whether you are a student at LPC studying biology, math or psychology, or you are a current or future staff member of The Express, just keep that in mind.
Oh, and for the staff members of The Express — I love you guys. You might be old enough to remember big hair and the rise of video games, but you’ll always be young in my heart. And you’re going to do great next year. General Excellence, here we come.