Senior Goodbyes: It’s been tough, but totally worth it

Designing for student media taught me tough but meaningful lessons about myself


Sarah Stewart, Graphic Designer

I joined the Observer the quarter after I joined PULSE (mainly looking to further fill out my resume) and the two quarters that followed were the busiest and most stressful of my life. It put me through the wringer, but working here has been a valuable learning experience.

The Observer is nothing like PULSE. PULSE is being able to calmly edit an illustration two weeks ahead of print, while the Observer is sitting up at midnight with a stress headache, redoing your entire layout because the story’s photos are finally in.

However, amid all this stress, I learned something about myself: I could handle it. As time moved on, I got over the “I can’t do this,” thoughts by telling myself “I have before.” I became accustomed to the workload, and my perspective vastly shifted.

Unfortunately, not everything I’ve learned about myself has been entirely positive.

Regular readers might remember a comic that ran for the latter half of winter quarter. It was something I happily volunteered for, and I naively spouted the idea to illustrate it by hand.

In this case, my newfound deadline-meeting superpowers steered me quite wrong, and I bit off more than I could comfortably chew. When my friends and family looked at the finished product, they saw a fun comic. When I look at it, I see sleepless nights and back pain.

That undertaking taught me that I’m easily carried away by the thought of exciting projects, even when I know I don’t have time for them.

Two quarters at The Observer has shown me what I’m capable of work-wise and what I’m capable of surprised me. As I move on from school and into the working world, I’m going to carry the lessons this experience taught me about myself, both the good and the bad, and I know I’ll be all the better for it.