I knew my year on Ed Board was going to be rough.

I’m not sure I knew how rough. I don’t think I envisioned naps in the office or crying on a production night. I don’t think I realized I wouldn’t be capable of putting The Appalachian out of my mind. I don’t think I expected it to have such a negative effect on my outside friendships, and I don’t think I understood the sheer amount of time I was going to spend in Plemmons Student Union 217.

I do this for the same reason as everyone who’s ever done it. It’s not really because of the professional experience or the idea that this will help me get a job. We do it because we’ve caught the bug. The bug that somehow wakes you up in the morning ready to start making newspapers, the bug that keeps you tossing and turning at night thinking of last-minute changes you could’ve made, the bug that somehow gives you a sixth sense for when your reporter has completely made something up in a story.

The bug turns something that makes you insane into something you love more than anything else in your life. The bug turns something that should make you miserable into something that makes you, strangely, happier than anything else ever really has.

But I didn’t realize that sometimes you lose the bug – that sometimes you just make it through on autopilot, that sometimes you sit in your bed with your head in your hands, whispering to yourself – please let me forget about it. Please just let me forget about this newspaper for two seconds. That’s all I want. That’s the only thing. 

And I didn’t know that it always comes back, and I didn’t know that I’d learn something about life: that easy things aren’t really worth it; that all the best things are hard.

In a year, I’m not going to wish I’d spent more time in my room relaxing. I may wish I’d spent more time with my friends, but I can fix that. I know I will be glad I did this. Even when it was hard. Even when I wanted to forget and couldn’t.

And I’ll be better. We all will. Our characters and personalities are refined by fire, not by easy days.

Nothing memorable is happening when you’re comfortable. When you’re not sure how you’ll make it through the rest of the week – that’s when life is happening.