All the tireless work I participated in for three years led up to sitting on a high stool in a dark room as some of my best friends poured glitter into my hands. It felt as though I was looking down on my body from above. Glitter was flitting around my feet because my clammy hands were shaking so terribly. My voice was trembling as I choked out what made me different from other candidates, as if I was ashamed.
If all of this sounds miserable, it should.
My newspaper staff has an abundance of traditions, from a specific knock we use on the door, to a ritual hug that involves a wave to the security cameras, to a construction paper Valentine card exchange. The biggest is the yearly interrogation of the underclassmen who hope to have leadership roles the next year.
The worst case scenarios involved recording answers to difficult questions and replaying them, glitter bombs, and balancing yearbooks. Each one involved an AP Style question, and this year, a mug shot.
To say that all of this is anxiety inducing is an understatement. But what’s worse, is the waiting. For the past week, I’ve been in this strange in-between place, in which my future is uncertain.
Next year, I could be the editor-in-chief of the publication I love most in the world, or I might not. I could lose it to my best friend, or I might not. They might think I’m assertive enough, or they might not. What I do know is that my life will be forever changed within two days. This could define which colleges I get into, which projects I’m able to work on, my self-esteem growing or tanking. It feels like my ability to hold some glitter and keep a straight face defines everything.
My stomach is in a constant state of squirm, my hands soaked. She smiled at me, so maybe I got it! Wait, maybe she feels guilty that I didn’t get it! He said he liked my hair. Is that a consolation compliment?
Currently, I’m sitting in my Spanish class, staring at the clock. They might appear and tell me my fate today, or they might not. I might start crying in front of the sophomores seated around me, or I might not.
For now, I let it fuel me to write that tenth story, rather than leaving it at nine, get those quotes, finish that graphic. But I swear, the next time my mind gets an image of shaking hands drowned in glitter, I’m going to lose it. Or … I might not.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.