Senior Goodbye

Jordyn Folsom, Editor-In-Cheif

I’ve avoided writing blogs throughout my entire time on The Rider staff. I hate vulnerability. I hate feelings. I hate blogs. I hate COVID-19. But more than any of that, I hate people not understanding what this year has been like. 

Since my freshman year, I aspired to be the Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper. I wanted to take charge, be a part of this amazing program and add to The Rider’s long list of accomplishments. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I did any of that. 

March 2020, when I was still only a section editor, my drive and hopes for my senior year began to gradually fall and lead me into the abyss I’m in now. I’m hopeless and I feel like a failure. I know earlier I said I hate being vulnerable, but I’m past the point in caring about that. 

When I was announced Co-Editor-In-Chief in April 2020 after wanting it for so long, I felt nothing I thought I would. Instead of the excitement to execute the plans and ideas I’d kept in my notes since sophomore year, all I felt was a pit in the dead-center of my stomach. It felt like I swallowed a rock. 

Instead of hoping to make the paper better, I hoped to keep it alive. 

In a pandemic, it’s hard to find anyone. In-person interviews were practically a myth and if you needed a picture, good luck because that person could be virtual, quarantined or moved to another classroom due to contamination. Nothing was the way it should have been. The yearbook was 20 pages shorter than normal. Stories were posted less often than normal. 

Normal wasn’t even a thing this year, but despite that, I can’t ignore the memories of the years before. 

 Journalism has brought me to the people that defined my high school experience. All my core memories from this stepping stone in my life are rooted in this program. Late night stops at Waffle House after football games, drives with the windows down and music blaring and spontaneous trips to Walmart are memories that I will never forget. They’re the memories that will remind me that before the COVID-19 pandemic, I did have a normal high school experience. 

However, I think I can speak for all my friends when I say that it’s a relief for it all to be over. 

It’s bittersweet to end my high school career this way. I expected to be a sobbing mess with the fear of growing up or the sadness of leaving this program. Instead, it’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. I should feel accomplished that despite everything, we maintained our Gold Crown status, or that we conquered UIL or that we somehow managed to still post stories weekly. However, I still feel like I could’ve done better. 

Someday I’ll look back and be proud of my perseverance this year, but for now, I’m just proud of my staff for theirs. While I was pessimistic and unmotivated, they put in the work. They are the reason we maintained our reputation and without them, The Rider Online probably wouldn’t have made it through this. We survived and I couldn’t be more proud to have been their leader, even when I often didn’t feel like a good one.