College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

Joseph Molino

I am a loser.

Crying would be a subtle and visceral way to release all the pent-up emotion I have towards leaving this newspaper after this semester’s final issue.

Since September of 2014, I’ve been a part of the College of DuPage Courier student newspaper. I’ve learned a lot about not only myself but everyone I have encountered in my reporting. From watching former COD President Robert Breuder being slammed by citizens during a three-hour-long public comment to nearly being assaulted at the Trump rally that never came to be in early 2016, I’ve gained experiences and memories that have changed my perception of the world.

However, blaring thoughts in my head drive me to hate my past self, as well as convince me to run far away from this newspaper office that I’ve turned into my home.

That sounds over-dramatic. I live in the United States. I have a roof over my head that keeps me dry. I’m in college, and I don’t have many bills due to living with my mom. I get paid to manage my community college’s newspaper for Christ’s sake. I have a wonderful job. Life is simple. It is easy in concept, and I should be thriving under the freedom I’ve been so fortunate to enjoy.

The privilege that flows perpendicular with my life should harbor success. If it doesn’t, then I’d be a fool and an abuser to take these freedoms I’ve been allotted for granted. I shouldn’t be getting C’s in my classes, nor should I be smearing the trust of the people who have helped me attain these freedoms by dropping classes or not studying.

I’d be a loser not to be thriving.

Of course, that mindset comes with its drawbacks. I’ve certainly felt more anxious and somewhat depressed under these mental conditions. They’ve cut my appetite and stumped my hunger for success. The anxiety I, and many others in the same situation, have faced locks us into a paralyzing fear of taking the next step forward. I find myself having YouTube marathons for hours at a time in an attempt to alleviate my goose-skinned emotions.

That’s life though. Most people cannot innately run like a machine, and when they compare themselves to “that kid” in class who doesn’t understand the first week’s material after six weeks into the semester, they believe they’re in good standing.

I’m here in this very moment writing this sob piece to make myself feel better about my own shortcomings this past year. I did not live up to any of the goals I put up in August for my education or this publication.

I did not get straight-A’s, and I was a fool for setting that standard so high for myself when I can barely read a Stephen King novel, let alone understand why Walt Whitman is a gay-poetic revolutionary of his time. The habits I built from the summer to help improve my studying completely fell flat on its face once I started compromising my routine with dating and trying new social experiences rather than studying.

With this publication, I told myself it’s OK to fail. I told myself it’s all a learning experience. I’ve lost more friendships in a span of four months than I had organically within a half decade before starting my lead role, and I feel like I am leaving this paper stagnant of any improvement.

Regret only leads to self-loathing, so I’ll try not to bog myself down any further with ideas of wanting to go back in time. It isn’t healthy.

It isn’t healthy to focus on your failures as a white flag. For me, over analyzation leads to an addiction towards my deeper insecurities and pushes me towards the wrong kind of perspective. Instead, let me focus on my failures as lessons, not regrets.

My laissez-faire leadership style isn’t for everyone, and some people ask to be micromanaged. Although I hate being told what every step of the process is every time I need to complete a task, others need that sort of structure. I now understand that I can’t let everybody run free, even though it harbors the most creative success once their own personal groove is found.

I cannot treat everyone with the same decency as I would with a close friend. Confrontation is a necessary evil. Deal with outliers before they influence the entire trend.

Giving people chances is one thing, but not addressing the problem through giving people more opportunity to fail is an entirely other issue. It was a slippery slope every single time I let them fall into the trap. To all who I didn’t catch, I’m sorry.

It wasn’t that I refused to help you. I couldn’t even catch myself from falling into the same hole. My stagnation towards not studying and postponing my work caused my limbs to become a mix of lead and iron, and I couldn’t find my own way to escape the boomerang of habit. That single aspect of this past year has been the bane of my existence, and I couldn’t find a way around it in time to help my coworkers.

Humility is my greatest ally, with a dagger at my throat no matter where I stand. It helps me face my shadow and overcome personal groundhog days. Vulnerability is the world’s most powerful double-edged sword, and humility opens us up to the reality we fail to see.

To look at failures as a part of you rather than a weighted jacket you place upon your shoulders is to take in the full array of colors provided by life. Rainbows become dreary in comparison to the vivid images seen between the words of your regrets.

I am a loser, though. Take what I say with a grain of salt.

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