In my second quarter of college, months after distributing my final yearbook and signing my final email as “Dougherty Valley Yearbook, Editor-in-Chief,” I took a leap of faith and sent a different email.
I missed yearbook deeply. And not just in the “good memories, best friends” way that I knew I would. This was something more. I missed the process. I missed the brainstorming sessions. I even missed the deadlines. I missed being part of something bigger than myself. I can’t stress how much four years of yearbook shaped me as a person. Like many others, my high school experience is divided into four years. Unlike most others, each year is themed and has a corresponding book sitting on my bookshelf:
- Picture This: intimidated and overwhelmed freshman staffer
- Filling in the Gaps: growing, up-and-coming “Baby” Assistant Editor
- Long Story Short: struggling and overwhelmed first-year Editor-in-Chief
- I Was Here: finally confident co-Editor-in-Chief with two of my closest friends
The email was sent to a high school just down the street from campus. I was welcomed openly into a program that had just concluded its first year with a new adviser. Now, just under a year later, I can be found there three days a week doing anything from checking senior quotes to helping with staff management to making some senior ads because how is that deadline already next week?!?
I’m trying to be the person that I had often wished would have been there for me: someone who had years of yearbook experience, someone who had problem-solved and hacked their way through spreads and deadlines, and even most importantly someone who would understand why I was willing to work for 20 hours over the course of two days for four weekends straight when I spent a good chunk of that time wondering why I signed up for this year after year.
Because there’s nothing like someone understanding your passion, and nothing like someone who has the experience to help you be better at it.
I’m trying to be the person I wish I had as an Editor. And maybe, deep, deep down, it’s me being selfish. Because every time I walk out of the room and have made the experience better for the staff, editors, and adviser, it’s the same intrinsic pride I had every distribution day, the thing that maybe I had been missing all along.
Yearbook doesn’t have to end when you graduate, if you don’t want it to. If this strikes a chord in you, write that email, dial that phone number, take that leap. Because, after all, once a yerd, always a yerd.
Davis, Dougherty Valley, San Ramon (CA) HS
I'm a Human Development major at UC Davis passionate about occupational therapy, adaptive sports, body positivity, travel, NaNoWriMo, running, and of course yearbook! I have strong font-related opinions, an addiction to Oreos while under deadline, and the belief that you can’t let the inevitable “typos” of life get you down.
Latest posts by Elise Pohlhammer (see all)
- A Letter to “Former” Yerds — Returning to Yearbook - April 13, 2017