In my senior bio for my high school musical, I stated proudly that I was going to Muhlenberg College to double major in theatre and media & communication. Though I did go to the college, I did not major in either of those things. Instead, I am about to graduate with an English major and minors in creative writing and French. And I think, in part, The Weekly might be to blame.
Or to thank. Maybe.
When we were sent home during the spring semester of my sophomore year, a lot of things turned on their head for me. One of the seemingly small things, in the wake of everything else, was the addition of a new extracurricular. My first articles clearly reflected the thoughts of a student body still reeling from a brand new pandemic. I didn’t think anything of it, just dutifully sending emails and texting friends for soundbytes before putting it all together as I, too, coped with this so-called new normal.
But what I was really doing was getting back into an old hobby: writing. I started writing before I knew how to, filling blank notebook pages with scribbles before I knew how to construct letters. Then dictating stories for others to write. Then writing on my own, filling pages with fantasy stories, and crafting words for fun.
Unfortunately, despite my love of writing, it was a hobby I fell out of thanks to a busy schedule and, occasionally, self-consciousness. That’s where The Weekly came in. The quick turnaround times on articles meant that I didn’t have time to think too hard. I just had to write. And write I did, without doubt, or hesitation.
At the same time, I had begun to take creative writing classes during the gaps in my schedule. Between those deadlines and the ones imparted by The Weekly, I was writing more than I had in years. And then I began to write for fun again. And then I committed to a creative writing minor. And then, at the tail end of my junior year, there was a new proposition: the opportunity to edit. And then… well, look at me now.
I didn’t know that falling back in love with writing would also entail screaming about Taylor Swift with Katie Conlon and Ayden Levine, occasionally bullying Tom Hiller (mostly for being Team Jake Gyllenhaal) and fighting (and losing) battles on behalf of the Oxford comma… but here I am. Thanks to The Weekly jostling me back into writing, I have had the opportunity to travel to writing conferences, have seen a play of mine presented on stage and have reaped rewards for writing projects of mine. And it all started with me sending a text message asking if I could write an article.
College, to put it frankly, has not been what I expected. Seventeen-year-old me who wrote that senior bio in her Footloose program would have been terrified if she had known what was in store. But these unexpected things were, truly, mostly good. And The Weekly was one of those good, unexpected things that led to even more good, unexpected things.
Thanks, Weekly folks. For coming up with witty titles when I struggled to. For tolerating my cranky moods when my midday coffee wore off. For giving me quotes when all other sources failed. And for cheering for me with gusto when I did win a writing award. In short: for being my friends. You got me to dust off the cobwebs and I’m pretty sure it has changed the trajectory of my life. And for that, I’m really, truly grateful.