Editor-in-Chief Farewell: Sofi Mincy

Sofi Mincy

In eighth grade, my dad pushed me to apply to a local private high school, imploring me to just, “go through the motions,” even if I didn’t think I’d get in. After grudgingly filling out my application, the SSAT rolled around — to make a long story short, no exam score ever made me question my academic abilities more than this one.

Photo courtesy of Sophia Rocha.

I never submitted that application. 

Discouraged by this new fear of failure, I spent my earliest years in high school refraining from challenging myself. It wasn’t until my first year in Bark that I really began to recognize my potential. Side note: Had Tom Sivertsen not walked me down to the Bark room freshman year, I’d probably be grouped with the goons who still don’t know our paper exists!

It didn’t come all at once, though. Admittedly, I flunked the Handbook Quiz and missed my very first deadline … not my proudest moments in Bark! I’ll never forget my first layout night where I hoped — no, prayed — that the EICs wouldn’t rescind my Opinion Editor position. Green and fearful, I sweat through my gray t-shirt that day, nearly peed my pants and just about planned my escape from room 177. 

Yet, rather than being criticized like I feared, I was instead met by overwhelming support from my soon-to-be family, support that helped me realize making mistakes was acceptable — encouraged, even. I came to appreciate the awkwardness of other people tearing through my work. I even made peace with Erin’s vicious, unforgiving Random Name Generator, which thrust me out into the open time and time again. I’ve always had my aspirations in Bark, but it was my Bark family and love for the program that gave me the courage to chase and achieve them. 

The 2020-21 school year brought a seemingly endless battle between COVID-19 and Bark, challenging our potential in the most unexpected ways. Fears of failure resurfaced when I learned we’d be leading the class alone and from afar, tasked with teaching InDesign, supplementing what learning was stolen by the pandemic and keeping 30 zoomers engaged. But that same community acceptance of learning from failure, that same empowerment, kept Bark afloat. I helped cultivate this environment for my peers by encouraging Bark to embrace defeat, trust the process and make mistakes, just as last year’s EICs did for me.

Looking back, I’m so thankful I didn’t send that darn application in. My time in this wonderful program — learning from and guiding such extraordinary humans, absorbing and contributing to the journalism field, challenging my own beliefs and failing over and over and over again — makes it all worthwhile. I finally befriended vulnerability, once my greatest opponent, and learned to use it as an advantage. I am beyond grateful for you, Barkies.