True Comfort Comes From Discomfort


courtesy of Nick Vigil

Rachel Vigil at her best.

Rachel Vigil, Editor-in-Chief

It’s pretty difficult to get across how excited I was to go to high school.

To me, it was a change from a very small, closed-off world into one with ten times more people and possibilities. I went to a Catholic school to a public one, and from a class of 16 to one of over 400.

However, I also found it difficult to adjust to this school. Making friends was much more work than I had anticipated, and I often felt out of place and lonely here. Even though my old school was small, I was able to carve out a definite spot for myself after nine years there. It was comfortable. I spent a large amount of time freshman year alone and confused about how to even begin making that new, comfortable niche.

Luckily, I was unknowingly sent help in the form of Ms. Landon and a new schedule. I can still remember my surprise when I was pulled out of my second period earth science class on the second day of school by my older brother’s newspaper teacher: Ms. Landon. She gave me a passage out of women’s choir and into newspaper.

This isn’t to say that newspaper helped me feel comfortable right away. Far from it actually. I was the only freshman and pretty terrified of the upperclassmen on staff with me. I mostly stuck to a corner working on whatever task that was assigned to me, while watching them interact with each other. There was even a point during freshman year where I considered leaving the class entirely to instead take other electives.

However, especially around our April issue, I began to realize what a great place the paper was. I started to have fun with it. It gave me a way to work on my writing, to have others look at and correct it, and it gave me a tangible way to create something for the world.

Over the years, newspaper has given me a voice and much more confidence than I had when I entered. It’s given me experience working with and leading others. I can’t imagine ending my day with anything else.

Obviously, newspaper wasn’t the entirety of my high school experience. I’ve had a large amount of trouble deciding where to begin with this though. I’m not sure in which ways my high school experience has been meaningful or important, but I do know which parts of it I enjoyed and which parts pushed me to be at least a bit better than when I started.

Life doesn’t provide many comfortable places where one’s identity is clear cut and easy to assume. I think my elementary and middle school experience was unique in that way, and unlikely to be repeated. That’s okay though, because I’ve learned so much more from being uncomfortable here. Newspaper and its dreaded interviews are one example of that, but I suppose I’m very lucky in that Wheat Ridge provided more of those, like sitting in Ms. Pera’s class praying that she doesn’t call on me, only to have her call on me multiple times. Or learning how to operate power tools and bluff your way through technical writing. Or being in a class with no one you know and learning (even if extremely slowly) how to become friends with those around you. Or running much longer or faster than you ever thought you could. I’m sure my classmates have had many more instances of this than I’ll ever be able to list, and that’s amazing.

And now as senior year draws to a close and I’m writing what I’ve watched so many seniors on The Haystack write before me, I find I have achieved some comfort here. Different comfort than what I had before, a comfort in not knowing what I’ll learn or what role I have to take up, and a comfort that my teachers and classmates (for the most part) are going through that uncomfortable process of growth at the same time. In some ways, that makes me very sad to leave. I’ve loved so many of my teachers, classes, and classmates, and I’ll be sad to see them go. In the end, though, I know that this is just another part of this uncomfortable comfort, and that the next stage of all of our lives will just bring more opportunities for growth. I just hope I’m as lucky in that next stage as I was my second day of school here.