The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Learning to take risks leads to leadership position

Applause, cheers and tears filled the room as I announced to my family that I was the new editor-in-chief for The Union.

My uncle’s eyes welled up with tears.

Soon after, my mom began to cry.

It was only once a year that we all got together on my late great-grandmother’s birthday to celebrate her life.

I had gotten the news from my professor a week prior and was so excited to tell my family.

As I stood there listening to my family congratulate me, I was filled with a mix of emotions ranging from happiness to self-doubt.

Disappointing my family was one of my biggest fears; I always want them to be proud of me and being editor-in-chief was a huge responsibility.

Though I was still hesitant about embarking on this new journey, I realized that none of it would’ve happened if I didn’t take a risk and apply to become a part of The Union staff.

I’ve always been the type of person who was afraid to take risks out of a fear of failure.

Also, I always seem to self-sabotage situations.

It was in my Journalism 1 class where the editor-in-chief announced that staff applications were available.

Even though it sparked my interest, I kept telling myself that being a writer wasn’t what I wanted to do.

As applications circulated the room, I began to think, “Why not take a chance; who knows what this could lead to?”

The light bulb went off in my head and despite the trepidation, I decided to take the risk and apply for the position.

Looking back, applying to become a staff writer for The Union was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

The first day on the job felt like I had entered into uncharted territory.

There were times when I felt like throwing in the towel because I thought I couldn’t handle it.

Starting something and not finishing it was a pattern I had fallen into before.

As the first few weeks went by, I hadn’t written any stories yet and was considering dropping the class even though I told myself I wasn’t going to quit.

I decided to stick around for a few more weeks and suddenly an opportunity came up that changed everything.

I was co-enrolled in the newspaper production class and in the advanced reporting and news editing class, which meant I was eligible to become an editor.

I was offered the opinion editor position.

All of a sudden I was designing pages, creating assignments, and was in charge of the opinions section.

Although this new position came with a new level of responsibility and discipline, I soon realized how much I liked it.

I went home that night and told my mom that I was the new opinion editor and she was so proud of me. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone else I knew.

As each newspaper deadline came and went, I felt like I was getting the hang of it. With every page design I improved more and more.

I was proud of myself for not giving up because I realized the other editors saw the potential in me that I hadn’t seen in myself. I was determined to see the semester through.

As the semester came to an end, it was time for staff members to reapply for the upcoming spring. I remember checking off the opinion editor position, but found myself hovering over the editor-in-chief position a few times.

Being editor-in-chief meant twice the responsibility, the person who is in charge of the entire publication.

I wasn’t convinced that I had it in me.

I turned in my application and the following day I asked my professor how many people had applied for the editor-in-chief position.

She told me that only two people had applied and there was another interview spot open if I wanted it.

Once again, I was faced with the same uncertainty.

I was terrified, but I remembered that I had made the right decision by following my gut the last time, so I said yes.

The nerves were insurmountable leading up to the interview.

I had no clue what my professor was going to ask me and as much as I tried to prepare, nothing seemed to stick.

To my surprise the interview went smoothly.

It was in that moment I realized how much I wanted to be the next editor-in-chief.

Within 24 hours, I was.

With the spring semester in full swing, I was struggling to embrace my role as editor-in-chief, the boss essentially.

It seemed like every week there was another bump in the road.

Through the trials and tribulations, we got through six amazing issues and it felt like I had reached the top of the mountain.

The whole whirlwind year with The Union brought me back to the letter.

When I was 12 years old, my seventh grade teacher had us write a time capsule letter to ourselves.

She promised that she would mail them to us once we graduated high school.

It’s been two years since I graduated, but I recently rediscovered the letter while cleaning my room.

My 12-year-old self could never have fathomed being able to accomplish all of the things I have with writing, journalism and being editor-in-chief for The Union in such a short amount of time.

In the letter I wished myself luck in whatever career I decided to pursue and said that I was proud of myself.

That young and naive tween that I was, is a completely different person today.

Without knowing it, that one small gamble resolidified my commitment to journalism.

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