A Senior’s Farewell to RDA

Sarah Ouyang

It’s a rare thing for student voices to be shared, and an even rarer thing for them to be really heard. RDA has made this possible for us in the unique, approachable way that only a student newspaper can.

Speaking up isn’t necessarily sharing your opinion on every possible subject; sometimes, just researching something that’s happening in the world and writing a little of your thoughts, or even just sharing what you’ve learned, can make you feel as though you’ve spoken. That’s what I’ve found—and what, if all I’ve heard from my friends is any indication, everyone has found—at RDA.

We “have to” write so much every day: papers for school, essays on exams, emails to teachers, texts to our friends and family. It’s good to know (and to see!) that we’re also recognized for what we want to write. After all, it’s only in what we want to write, not what we have to, that our actual voices come through.

The first time I saw one of my articles published on RDA, I felt what I imagine Hemingway must have felt when he first saw in a bookshop window a story he’d scribbled indifferently on a napkin at the Café de Flore. (Maybe I’m exaggerating. My first article was a review of the film Little Women. Not exactly A Farewell to Arms.)

Later on, I became an editor and witnessed other writers happily experience their own Hemingway moments. Pieces they’d crafted from their brilliant minds, nurtured from bare seeds of story ideas, now finished articles that we’d polished together to make sure every word was something they were proud of.

And that’s another thing: RDA offered us both the professionalism of a school newspaper and the freedom of a student-run club. Despite a cohesive and unified website, structured aesthetically enough to rival The Guardian or The Economist, each article was independent and stood out on its own because each writer was allowed their own voice. Diversity. A profound and precious thing, including, or especially, in a newspaper.

I remember, during college applications, being constantly asked what activities I’d like to continue doing when I’m off to High School 2.0. (Just kidding, of course—college will be very different and, allegedly, considerably better than high school.) The question may seem daunting, but one thing was always certain. Memories from RDA rushed forth. I ticked off writing every time.