I tell people all the time that The Heights is like a drug. It’s like Tylenol or antibiotics-it fixes what hurts. I need the interviews, the writing, the crazy and intelligent people I get to work with. I need the satisfaction that comes with picking up a newspaper on Monday mornings and finally seeing all my hard work in print. Most of the time, the rush I get from being in the newsroom is what picks me up on frustrating days.
Other times, all of the side effects hit me. I get cranky, sleep-deprived, sick of all the nonsense I used to want so much. But that doesn’t happen often, and so I keep taking my dose of The Heights.
I haven’t been filling my prescription as often as I should, though, but I’m changing that. I’m running right back to the newsroom, where I have the people and stories that I’ve been missing.
I’m driven by the guarantee that as long as I’m doing that, I’ll be right where I belong. I’ll still get to hear all of the stories I can, whether they’re from my fellow editors or from the fascinating people I’m interviewing.
Better yet, I’ll get to put a lot of those stories into printed words for other people to read about too, so that they can learn everything that I’m learning. I’ll forget the now-trivial things that were bothering me before I started re-listening to interviews or writing, made comfortable again by the magic little pill bottle that is this newspaper.
The thing about this drug is that while it’s the kind that helps you, not the kind that tears your life up, it’s addicting. It becomes necessary to survival. I’ll happily admit that I’ve been addicted to The Heights since freshman year, and aside from the occasional headache or relatively sleepless nights, the side effects haven’t been bad enough to convince me to quit it.
Last year, I wasn’t as involved with all this wonderful madness as I could have been, and I went through some serious withdrawals. It was weird to be so out of the loop, so out of sync with what I had been so used to. I didn’t like it, so I filled up that prescription, and here I am. I’m totally hooked.
Everyone has a drug somewhat like mine. There’s something that everyone needs in his or her life in order to feel happy, or to keep oneself going. It’s never really the same exact one for everyone, though.
While I have 40 other editors just as dedicated to this paper as I am, if not more so, they’re all taking slightly different brands of the same medicine. For other people, it’s not an organization or a mission that drives them. It’s people: their friends make them feel special, their families support them, the people they’ve decided to dedicate their lives to helping make them feel like they’re making a difference. For others, it’s a dream or a goal or a promise that there are better things to come, and as long as they hold onto that, they feel much better. It all depends on what you lack and what you realize you can take to fix that ache.
My sister’s drug is filmmaking. If she doesn’t have a camera in her hand, she’s trying to figure out how to get one there. All of her movies end up on Facebook for her friends to critique, and it doesn’t look like she’s stopping any time soon. Movies help her get her ideas out of her head, which ends up making her feel better. She’s as hooked as I am, and the effects have been just as healing. Whether it’s a movie or a newspaper, we know that getting our usual dosage is exactly what we need.
I could very well compare The Heights and all of these other so-called drugs to anything that makes a person feel good: chocolate, books, even puppies. These things, though, aren’t all that necessary or addicting. I’m sure I could live without all of them for a long time and not miss them terribly.
Not only is The Heights so addicting, it’s something that fixes the things that are wrong with me. It’s what I need to survive, because it’s what I want to be doing for the rest of my life: talking, listening, and writing.
When you figure out what you need, you’ll never think twice about making sure you get it, because sometimes, a drug can save you.