February 10, 2023 | FEATURES | By Alexandra Akinchina

Around this time last year, I finally worked up the courage to write my first article for The Catalyst.

I had gone back and forth on whether I should apply for The Catalyst for the longest time. On one hand, I loved writing. I knew this was something I wanted to try. On the other hand, I was scared. Fear held me back.

What if my writing isn’t good enough? What if someone says something negative about my work? Would that crush my confidence? These questions replayed in my head like a broken record.

I finally applied to be a writer after watching the film “Tick, Tick…BOOM!,” a movie depicting a storyteller and artist struggling to make his big break. It reminded me of my love for art and storytelling, the brevity of life, and the importance of facing your fears and critics. It wasn’t a coincidence that my first article ended up being about this film.

Seeing your writing on a physical newspaper for the first time is such an exciting feeling. You feel accomplished, and it motivates you to keep going. The idea that someone besides your editors will read your writing is nerve-racking at times, but also… exciting.

Writing for the Features Section has allowed me to experiment with my writing and produce work I care about. Certainly not without some bumps in the road.

I wrote an article “Finding Community in the Russian House,” which explores my personal experience and identity. The article was submitted Tuesday and the bombings in Ukraine began Thursday of the same week. After the global turn of events, I decided to pull its publication at the time and make some adjustments and additions.

I was extremely nervous for the article to come out considering the climate we were now in. My nerves guided me. I knew that since I was scared, it was important. And if it’s important, it’s worth sharing to be read and seen.

The other article I was nervous about was an article, “And the Oscar Goes To…” which was a recap of the 94th Academy Awards. I had signed up to write about the Oscars before they had aired, so you can imagine my thought process when I saw Will Smith hit Chris Rock. How am I going to write about this?

My other articles have allowed me to connect with Colorado College at large and explore community. Interviewing students, staff, faculty, and alumni has opened up a space for collaboration, communication, and connection. Hearing other people’s stories and experiences and being able to translate them on paper has been gratifying. It has been one of my favorite parts of writing for The Catalyst.

Sometimes, I wonder whether any of my writing has reached, touched, taught, or moved anyone. I remember when my article, one that I was extremely proud of writing, “The Legacy of Ryan White,” came out.

I had read Ryan White’s autobiography the year before, and his impact has stayed with me since. I was so surprised that I had not heard or learned about him in school. I just knew I had to write about his story and impact. It wasn’t a trendy topic at the time, but I knew there was a lot to be learned.

Whether you know it or not, there is an audience for your work. One article might resonate with someone in a way you don’t expect or even imagine. The important thing is to write from your heart. Write what matters to you. Write the stories you think people should hear.

If you don’t know where to start, start writing about what you know. Move from there. Never let fear get in the way. You never know where it will take you.

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