When I was younger (I’m talking like early elementary school years here), I had awful balance. Think like a gymnast, but exactly the opposite. I had a really bad ear infection as a baby that my parents kind of ignored because they don’t love their firstborn and I ended up having some damage to my eardrum. It hurt and blah blah blah, but the worst thing it did was mess up my balance which sounds odd because it was odd. I eventually outgrew this as my body readjusted, but for a while, I would just fall over ALL THE TIME. Like sitting at the dinner table and just slipping off my chair onto the floor. Looking back and telling this story to people, it is pretty damn funny that I would just end up on the ground sometimes.
The point of this not-completely-unrelated story is that I’m dealing with another balance issue right now that is just a little bit different. The struggle between my work and my academics has consumed my life recently. I love working for The Daily Tar Heel; just the mere fact that we rival professional news organizations is a compliment as well as a testament to the incredible reputation the paper has garnered over the last century and change. But the difference between the pros and us (other than a substantial pay difference) is our staff is in class all day, working hard to make sure we, you know, graduate from college while other news organizations can focus all their energy on reporting and gathering sources. This is the first time I’ve been an editor at the paper while taking classes (I was an editor for the first time this summer as well) and I jumped straight from staff writer to the head of the biggest desk at the paper.
To say it has been overwhelming would be an understatement but I still cannot get enough of it. I’m obsessed with what is going on, and I want to let people know the information I know. But I’m not a genius; I need to study to continue to make the slightly above average marks I’ve made so far at UNC. So, I have to figure it out — is it worth a dozen sleepless nights to put out a product my own housemates do not even read? Is it worth putting my biggest class assignments on the back burner to finish editing a couple of page 6 stories? Is it worth trying to even compete with the big boys in Raleigh? Is it worth the story idea struggle and the unresponsive writers and the photo requests and the computer issues and the eye bags and the unhealthy lifestyle that comes with having a full-time job while being a full-time student?