March 8, 2021

Like my transition, my happiness and journey forward was finally being realized. I didn’t just find myself at home in my new identity, by sophomore year, I found myself at home in my newsroom. I jumped at every opportunity to extend my skills and try my hand at leadership. In my sophomore year, those opportunities were few and far between: there weren’t available spots on the editorial board, but I did succeed in being selected as business manager. Even from that position, I focused on telling the stories of others, and I was given a huge opportunity to interview a friend who was transitioning from male to female. She was experiencing years of gender dysphoria, accompanied by no support at home, but despite her struggles, she was still positive and focused on her happiness. I felt honored and deeply inspired, and at the same time, I felt a tremendous pressure to get the story right. I learned so much from not just knowing her, but being able to share a facet of transgender life that is ignored and belittled by most. The story was bigger than us both, and the best part was that, even in the face of all the scrutiny and transphobia, she was thrilled to have her story shared.

By junior year, I had developed a full-out passion for uplifting the stories of diverse and minoritized students. I knew that this kind of reporting was something that I was uniquely suited for, and so my column, People of the Pack, was born. PoTP was a column dedicated to finding and expounding the untold stories of diverse Portage Northern students. It didn’t just help me grow as a writer, it changed me as a person: because I was learning so much with every person’s story, writing the column was truly a life-changing experience. I knew first hand the importance of representation and visibility, and with every column entry, I grew hungrier and hungrier. I had so many stories to tell, and so little time.

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