An over-thought reflection from your busy Layout Editor


Abigail Fang, Layout Editor

I, as a general rule, care very much about what people think of me. I won’t go into the specific thought processes I have when I have to interact with people (especially new people) because I am genuinely not ready to get exposed in print for eternity, but even I can recognize it’s excessive.

This lifestyle of overthinking has mildly harmed my ability to have fun and enjoy high school. I don’t really know how to pinpoint a way, method, process, etc. to get out of such a mindset. I know that many other people experience the same fears as me and I wish I could know how everyone else gets through it (if at all).

But I also know that these fears seem to quiet and settle down a little when I’m in a dimly-lit room with my friends in The Howler, laughing over articles or dumb jokes. And that’s what I think The Howler offers at its core—a community welcoming of everyone, especially people who make mistakes but are willing to experiment and explore.

The hard skills I’ve learned in The Howler—InDesign, spotting Oxford commas, how to structure a hard news article—are valuable, but not what will first pop into my head years down the road.
Instead, I’ll think about what I have learned from my friends in The Howler (hopefully you can spot yourself in this list), which is how to laugh at myself; how to work steadily and stoically; that listening patiently to someone is underrated; that offering food can be the best way to make people feel loved; that maybe the coolest people are those who truly don’t care what others think; and that everything (everything) is cheesecake.

Coming out of high school now, I’m proud of myself for the risks I took. Aside from The Howler, some of my experiences here—policy debate in particular—were integral to my development as a person and as a student. Most importantly, I think (and I hope) I expanded my worldview through the content I learned, the people I met and the experiences I had.

I also do have a lot of regrets. I wish I had really tried to learn how to dance. I wish I had stayed in choir. I wish I had gone to more creative writing workshops, or talked to this person, or attended this event, or took an opportunity I didn’t think I could succeed at.

I wish desperately that I had told myself in freshman year, or even before that, “You deserve to take up space. PLEASE take up more space for yourself.”
But I find myself being okay with all of these regrets. I have college approaching, and with new people to meet and new experiences to try, it’s satisfying to know that I still have a lot more to accomplish.