This past week at my school was my second Christmas: the distribution of the yearbook. I am a copy editor for the yearbook at my school, and this was my first year on the staff; a year filled with awkward getting-to-know-yous with my own peers, nitty-gritty font choices, hours upon hours of coming up with headline puns, and most importantly, the utmost joy I have ever felt in my life.
I remember when I was in elementary school, my entire year led up to the gift of the yearbook, 80 black and white pages of kindergarten collages and Comic Sans class names that cut my little 10-year-old heart in half with the type of nostalgia you can only feel when you've only lived a minute fraction of your life. I felt this euphoria of having my friends write in their own super secret handwriting a misspelled message that usually only ended up meaning "have a great summer." I was overcome with the emotion of smiling back at the mugshots of my 24 best friends for that year, classmates that I would unknowingly end up taking selfies with years down the road. This feeling of present tense memorial is what allows me to thrive. This time of seamless reflection and boundless integrity gives me the creativity to form history and to encourage my coworkers to do the same. This is what allows us to create the bubbles of our sparkling memories and celebratory moments to form something authentic and unforgettable.
The days I've spent working on this year's edition of the yearbook have given me the same euphoria as my very first sepia-toned table of contents. I have the same joy, multiplied by the daily energy of meeting myself in the photographs and feature stories that come from the points of view of thousands of teenagers around me. Today, I stood on the top floor balcony at my school and looked down at all the lunching high schoolers, immersed in their almost-500-page book with the intellect of a million ACT prep courses and the artistry of infinite musical scores. I saw my work coat their eyes in the way that one would stop to smell the roses, the beauty of their triumphs magnified in articulate and fragrant detail.
The spelling errors or pixelated photo edits fall in the dust as minuscule edits we missed between laughter and Pandora station debates, a collaborative process that would be nothing without the personal fine points that define us as a staff and as young adults. The people I have met and persuaded to give me longer, deeper quotes along the way are, in a way, a family I may never meet again. I share an intangible sort of affection with my 64 other staff members who appreciate the smell of 200 cardboard boxes straight from the printing plant just as much as I do. I learn and grow through the visionary wit of my advisor, who not only has a keen eye for passion, but a heart full of it himself. Our lives scan the same stories and relive the same moments, captured and enraptured in the very journey of being remembered as the history-makers and note-takers of our time.
I have learned so much in my past 10 months as a staff member that will carry me through the next few years as someone filled and chronologically-ordered with the sheer delight of being there to cover the first orchestra concert of the year when no one else was. I have taken this opportunity and turned it into my career, my home and my very own story. I'm my own yearbook within the pages I have created, and those around me have just as much girth, greatness and gumption as all the spines that inhabit our shelves. These people are the people who design the world, who give it a breath, a personality, a shape. Our attention to detail sharpens our vision and tingles our senses to make every day more unique, more artistic and more worth-seeing. Everyone carries inside of themselves a piece of good news, and I will always hold this publication with me as my front page.