“Why do you care so much about Bark?’ people ask me. ‘It’s a school newspaper. I don’t get why you spend so much time on Bark stuff.”
The answer that I reply with is one that constantly changes.
If I’m posed the question after a particularly chaotic paste-up, I might reply with something simple.
“It’s the writing,” I’ll say. “I love to write and Bark is the best platform for that.”
On my more energetic days, when I haven’t stayed up late editing stories, I’ll respond to the question with something different, something closer to the truth.
“It’s the people,” I’ll say. “There’s something special about the people. They’re passionate, they’re quirky, they’re smart.”
But the most typical answer I give is one that reflects my inability to put into words the significance that Bark has in my life.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” I’ll say. “It’s just Bark.”
For those who have also spent hours at paste-ups, exchanged Barks and Bites, talked politics, sports, culture, and life, they might understand what “just Bark” really means.
To be honest, I don’t necessarily understand what I mean when I say that to people. It’s my best effort to express something that is impossible to express. While I can sit here and write about the ways Bark has helped me improve as a journalist—how it has made me a better writer and a more critical thinker, how it has introduced me to people and stories that I never knew existed in my own community, how it has taught me the importance a journalist can have within an institution, even one as small as our own school district—I also know that Bark has changed my life beyond the journalism. To me, “just Bark” is the ideas I have developed, the relationships I have formed and the creative nature I have discovered.
Out of all the communities I will be graduating from in the next two weeks, the Bark community will be the hardest to say goodbye to, mainly because I’m not sure if I’ll be part of a community like it ever again. There’s something special in the intellectual and creative freedom that our class is built upon. There’s something special in the energy that Barkies bring to class each day. And there’s something special about picking up a copy of a freshly-printed Bark and knowing that each of us did something to contribute to the final product.
For the stories, the skills, the collective dedication to create something original, and for that extra something that is impossible to describe but also impossible to ignore, I want to thank Bark and the incredible people I have had the privilege of working with over the past three years. I will always be grateful.