By Camille Furst
This year hasn't been easy.
I’ve spoken with countless amounts of people who’ve lost their loved ones from a virus that has crushed the nation’s soul. I would wake up early and stay up late to keep up with the heartbreaking news that would appear again and again. And I’m burnt out.
My time in quarantine has been a bit different than most people my age. Instead of picking up a new hobby or taking a break from work, I tried to wade through the unknown territory of running the College’s newspaper and its staff through the summertime. Meanwhile I had my internship with The Record and NorthJersey.com, which, although more rewarding than anything, took an emotional toll. I listened to people’s stories that only heightened my anxiety about the future.
With my internship and being editor-in-chief, there were days that I would work 12 hours, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and do it all over again the next morning. I can’t say that I was never tired, and I can’t say I never lost steam from time to time. But I never lost the hunger to tell these stories. Because at the heart of journalism are stories, and at the heart of all stories are people. I believe wholeheartedly that all people are more alike than we might realize.
I spoke with families who lost their loved ones from Covid-19. I interviewed a man from Paterson who, nine years ago, got his food from the soup kitchen he now works at. I spoke with government officials about disparities of positive Covid-19 tests from people of color, and why they might be more susceptible to the virus than non-people of color. I attended protests where people my age were standing in 100-plus degree weather, hungry for change. I spoke with a man who spent six years in prison only to be found innocent and later become one of the Exonerated Five.
I heard stories from students of color who were victims of bias incidents and listened to how they felt that justice wasn’t served by administrators, to later be told that through their published story, they were able to have their voices heard. In all this, I only have one goal. It is summed up in a quote from Desean Terry in his role as Daniel in Apple TV’s “The Morning Show.” “I want to do the news,” he said. “I want people to be excited about it. And I want that to be enough.”
So despite the pain that I would feel in hearing some of these stories and the emotional turmoil I would experience when writing them, I found meaning and purpose. I’ve taken to heart the passage in the Bible that speaks of times like these: that there is a time to mourn and a time to find joy.
Take time to mourn. But at the same time, cling onto hope — the hope that joy is on the horizon.