When you leave the newsroom everything seems quieter, more at peace, and very unnewsroom-like. The standing deadlines are no longer your own and the engines are still running even though you've left the wheel.
My tenure as editor in chief of The Prodigy campus newspaper has ended. It was my time. After two years of overworking, undersleeping and making everyone's problems my problems, that's what my job was ... and I was happy to do it.
Though I started as a freshman and have spent four years working, writing, laughing and yelling, my time as the editor-in-chief was the time I learned the most. And most people this year who are graduating and leaving their leadership posts feel the same.
This week I had to watch many people give their final farewells to the organizations they have poured themselves into for years. While this happens at all campuses, it's a bit different for UCM because many of us were the pioneers. We were there when all we had was each other.
Literally. This campus has no space for meeting and all we had in many of these organizations was the invisible agreement that we're going to be a unified team with some purpose.
What scares many of us are the futures of these organizations. Having a hand in the creation of these groups makes it harder to let go. Though, at times it has created an issue for discussion because it seems like some alumni keep butting in.
Criticism of how an organization is functioning has been very prevalent this year, but many students in charge of those organizations are tired of hearing their predecessors bash them by way of Facebook.
Our student government is the one that faces the most scrutiny. Their predecessors all bring up their reasoning as to why the current administration is wrong. But when is it time to let go?
What can be confirmed is that these students care. Even after they have left, their spirits still linger in what they helped create and no one wants to see their organizations run differently, even if they're failing.
The reality is that even when you leave, the work does not end. Things keep moving, but you have to get off at your stop and let it go to the next destination. What many of these alumni critics don't realize is that the very fact that the engines are still running and moving is a success. They may not be going where we planned for them to go, but they're going.
At this campus it's so easy for a group to lose power and fall apart after a leader leaves. But it's the responsibility of that leader to mold a new one.
Leaving an organization that you have cared about is difficult, but it's more difficult if you believe you did not prepare for its future. It is a bittersweet time, but some of us can leave with the satisfaction of knowing we did all we could -- it's time for something new.
New blood is needed to take an organization to different places. Growing can only happen when there are changes in the seasons.
It's upsetting to see your organization, your family, struggle. You want to give your input (because of course we know what's best) but it's time to let go. There is a point when the learning that comes from making mistakes or just making different choices is going to be what guides the future developments.
There's a time to step back. Whether it be as editor-in-chief of a newspaper, president of a student government or as a parent. Your creations have to go their own way at some point.
They have to change to improve and grow. They may succeed, but they may also fail at some point.
For those of us leaving the newsroom, stepping away from clubs we created, and even letting their children go off to college, just remember: You never really disappear from them, but their growth continues without you. You gave them life so they could live. Let them live.
The author is a senior in political science at the University of California at Merced.