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Pencil Shavings

Photo credit: Bobby Jones

Life has changed since I started having to write a column every week. While the things I do day-to-day aren’t really any different, the way I see them is.

If you had asked me a year ago if I thought my life was interesting enough to write a weekly column about it, I probably would have just laughed. I mean, I’m only a college student living at home who studies and spends a lot of time with my dogs. How much content can you get out of that? Surprisingly, the answer is a lot more than I would have guessed.

When I became Managing Editor and suddenly had to write 350 words from my perspective every week, I was nervous. I really didn’t see any way that I could find something new and interesting to talk about every single week. Now here I am, 20 columns later and still finding content. And it isn’t because I changed my lifestyle at all, it’s because I’ve changed the way I look at it.

It is not always an easy task to think of something to write each week, and every day I am searching for new ideas, meaningful experiences, and column-worthy themes. Now, small experiences that would have seemed minor and negligible to pre-column-writing Tessa are significant and eye-opening—like how quilting intersects with gender roles, and how reactions to my colorblindness point to larger societal issues.

I now live my life in constant pursuit of novel ideas, and it makes my experiences richer. Writing columns has shown me that you don’t need a super “exciting” or variable lifestyle to have meaningful experiences that make you think and view things differently. There is something that can be taken away from every experience, no matter how small. Sometimes all it takes is a little shift in perspective.

This is not to say that writing columns has magically made my life consistently exciting and wonderful; it hasn’t cured my boredom or made bad days good. What it has done is given me a new way to reflect on why something feels boring and what about my day is bad. Ever since my first column, I think differently.

And while I probably won’t be writing columns my whole life, I hope that the practices it has taught me will stay with me forever.

Tessa Blair
Tessa Blair

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