Edit Desk: Finding my place

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Shana Lichaw

Four years ago today, I was preparing for the release of the Roslyn High School yearbook that I designed with my Co-editor in chief. What started as blank white pages ended with over 300 pages filled with memories. 

Four years later I am sitting here, just having presented my senior honors thesis to the Art, Architecture and Design department, via Zoom, from my off-campus house and was accepted to my dream internship program. 

Four years later and I no longer recognize the person who I was in high school.

As a senior, Lehigh was my dream school. I applied Early Decision I, and if I wasn’t accepted, I would’ve taken a gap year and tried to figure out how to get in the following year. I gave myself no other options as I already envisioned myself sleeping in an Upper Cents dorm room after visiting a friend who lived there. 

There is something to be said about finding the right people and the right place. Luckily for me, that happened very early on in my college career. However, I went through obstacles at Lehigh that made me feel as if the world was ending. 

After some incidents during my first semester as a freshman, I came back second semester for sorority rush close-minded with zero optimism. I ended up getting dropped from the process and at that moment I thought my life was over. 

I reached out to my high school yearbook advisor and photography teacher and he assured me there were other ways to get involved at Lehigh and to make more friends. He was right. 

I marched myself up to Coppee Hall, high school yearbook in hand, to meet Matt Veto for the first time. I wanted to show him everything I was capable of within the realm of photography and design. 

Then, just two strangers, we discussed the potential of visuals and I began what would be a four year journey on The Brown and White. 

Looking back, I had no idea what I was capable of, but Matt saw it right away.  

I started out as an assistant photo editor moving up the pipeline to photo editor, then audience editor and am now writing this as managing editor of visuals. 

I may not be a journalism major, but I for sure have become obsessed with journalism. It’s a running joke with my friends how addicted I am to the newspaper, but I cannot help it. 

I “left” the paper for one semester while I was studying abroad, but even then I could not actually leave. I was still on call, helping with the visuals nonstop from the other side of the world. It is safe to say that I have had a successful career on staff. 

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the newsroom was my escape from reality, despite the fact that our work in the newsroom was actually forcing us to face reality. 

Being with a group of people all sharing the same goal and passion is something that I will never take for granted. The feeling inside of the newsroom was very similar to that of the yearbook office in high school, however, the amount of passion there was not nearly as strong as that of my fellow Brown and White editors. 

One of my favorite memories at the paper was my junior year when I tackled my first breaking news story. I called LUPD, Lehigh’s communications office, the crime scene and took every step a reporting journalist would. I was just a photo editor at the time, but I knew I needed to get involved in breaking news too. If that happened while I was a freshman I would have sat in my dorm room and watched events unfold over the Slack screen. 

Looking back at my time on The Brown and White, I’ve met many more people than I could have ever imagined and have been supported through any event, project or interview I have embarked on. 

In reflecting on who I was as a senior in high school, I can genuinely say I am satisfied with my choices. It may not have been the path that I had envisioned for myself, but I know that I will confidently enter the workforce and post-graduate life with skills, friendships and motivation unlike anyone else. I may be one of the few graphic design and marketing students to stay on The Brown and White for so long, but without my time on staff, I would not be the person I am today, reflecting on how greatly I was impacted by these past four years.

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