I am still searching for who I am. Some days I’m a writer, others I’m a coffee addict, but on all days I’m human. And on all days, I live with a powerful fear.
A fear of being disconnected, unrecognized and irrelevant as a person. Like all people, I simply want to belong. To be a part of something bigger than myself.
Belonging is an innate and fundamental need for all human beings. It takes many forms and tells many stories, and those stories go beyond the pages of this magazine. Belonging isn’t just about where you call home, or who you feel connected to—it’s about human nature.
This year we pushed our staff harder than ever. We implored them to push themselves past the boundaries of traditional story ideas. To grow above the title of “student journalist” and to just be a journalist. We asked them to tell stories that not only mattered to them but to write stories that resonated with our readers and situations they could identify with.
We chose the theme of belonging to give a voice to those whose stories haven’t been told or who would otherwise go unnoticed. We brought the community together to discuss the ever-changing landscape of anxiety and mental health. We pulled from our own experiences and asked the hard questions. How are women making an impact in a male-dominated industry? How does a predominantly Latinx population grapple with predominantly white leadership? How does anxiety isolate people? We told the stories of the victorious, the generous and the persistent, all the while acknowledging the changes in our industry. We took extra care with not only who we reported on, but how. We honored our sources, asked for preferred pronouns and we gave survivors a voice.
Thank you to our sources for being vulnerable and for giving us the privilege to tell your stories. Thank you to our advisers for guiding us and giving us a platform to tell the important stories. Thank you to my staff, the most talented group of journalists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. And thank you, our readers. Because of you, we can continue to tell impactful stories like these. Because of you, we are FLUX.