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MAY 12, 2023

I’m always 10 minutes late —

Silently, squeezing in between seats,

waiting at the counter, 

or sighing in between sprints.


I arrived at 18 finally, wanting all these different things.

The excitement of a new promise to

dig deeper and be more

fantastic, more fun, more full of knowledge 

and somehow still the same.


I found myself being jerked 

around instead, with the start and stop. 


At times it felt like giving up

to retreat. 

To not participate in the raised 

hands in class,

dinners out, and papers unwritten. 


After the sparkling particles 

of newness had faded, 

and I was faced with turning 

into my norm,

I took on convincing.

Me convincing myself 

to stay, when

sometimes growing felt like tearing 

off chunks of myself 

in favor of more precious pieces,

given to me like 

a robot made of flesh,

struggling to find connective tissue.


I learned how to tether myself together, 

in the confines of a newsroom,

using iced coffee and monologues 

filled with the tip tap of typing, 

complaints of writer’s block 

and hopes that we could 

build something.


Going back on the record 

of my life since 2019,

examining the transcripts and

videos, I imagine

tracing my silhouette, to see 

where I end and the rest 

of the world begins —


But the shape has changed

where I learned

Grief, where I found 

a love for writing, where 

new friendships formed.


And everyday when I choose 

to reinsert myself 

into the new and old spaces, to find the borders of my mind, 


less and less

afraid to push them or just let them be —

I’ve found that I arrived at them

right on time. 

Mela Seyoum was a 2022-2023 staff representative. She joined The Daily Californian in spring 2020 as a general assignment news reporter and then worked on the race and diversity and student government beats. She was a deputy news editor in fall 2021, and news training manager, editorial board member and senior staff news reporter in spring 2022. She is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Contact Mela Seyoum at 


MAY 12, 2023