I hope I’m different now

Emma Tanner, Managing Editor

“New year, new me” is a wildly overused phrase. If I had a dollar for every time I heard it, I would probably be a very rich woman. That being said, 2022 was a year of intense growth for me. 

Going into the year, I didn’t intend to change much. I had just begun my first semester as news editor. I was a psychology major. I had a girlfriend and a limited number of friends. I had red hair with dark roots from a lack of redyeing. I was still nervous to stand up for myself — there was no real place I felt like I belonged at UNA.

The first half of 2022 and the second half felt like two completely different years.

Going into 2023, I feel like an entirely different person. For starters, I am now the Flor-Ala’s managing editor. This time last year, I never dreamed of going higher than section editor. I had no reason to be more, given the fact that I worked at the paper as somewhat of a side hustle. In about October, I changed my major to journalism. Going from pre-med psychology to journalism was an interesting shift to say the least. It created a few awkward conversations with my parents. 

Another change is the fact that I now have a boyfriend. I won’t go into much detail (feel free to read the entire opinion I wrote about it), but I got dumped. In September, I met the boy that would heal the heart that he never broke. 

Being with him showed me the stark difference between first love and true love. His love is unconditional. He loves me for me; I’ve never had to change a singular thing about myself for him. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered he wrote his own response to my aforementioned heartbroken opinion piece, detailing the fact that he wanted to be with me (if you are reading this Karl, which I know you are, you have to let me read all of it). Being loved by him is one of my greatest victories.

I am once again a poetic and sappy mess to someone who fully deserves every bit of love given to him and then some. I seem to love him more every day. He showed me that it is OK to give my heart to someone again. You just have to give it to the right person.

My friend group has also increased. Almost all of my friends are from the newspaper and I am more than happy for it. The hardships of the past year have given me a best friend that I wouldn’t trade anything for — she’s literally the best. I feel such a sense of community within our staff. I know I can reach out to any of the amazing women I work with if I ever need anything. 

I dyed my hair dark and cut my bangs. I did the whole “reinventing myself” thing. I realized that with enough confidence, I can feel like I belong anywhere. I have gone from a quiet, awkward teenager to a secure, confident young adult. Therapy sessions and self reflection have helped form the person I am growing into.

When people tell me “you’ve changed,” I see it as a compliment. I underwent a lot of personal growth to become the person I am now. The person I am is the person I have always deserved to be. Growth is not just knowing your worth, it is knowing when you’ve been wrong. I am not always blameless in everything I have done, but I’ve accepted that I cannot change things from the past.

Compared to last year, I hope I’m different. I hope I’ve changed. If you knew me before, I hope you like the new me. I think she’s pretty great.