Editor-in-Chief Farewell: Camille Ray

Camille Ray

Perfectionism always sounded appealing to me. I mean, who doesn’t want to be perfect? It’s like a badge of honor for overachievers.

Fixated on the idea of achieving perfection, I never truly accepted the process of learning from my mistakes. Why learn from them when you can do it right the first time? It sounded like an airtight plan for success. But with this unattainable end goal I had methodically arranged for myself, the only outcome was failure, and trying to avoid it was as exhausting as it was self-deprecating. 

In the beginning, I saw being Editor-in-Chief this year as the opportune time to prove to not only myself but to my peers that I could embody this idealized image. But this made the job terrifying to think about. What if I couldn’t be the perfect leader I felt everyone expected me to be?

Of course, I’m only human. Mistakes are inevitable.  

Right off the bat, my first day was a complete nightmare. With our advisor on maternity leave and the pandemic forcing us onto an unknown online video platform, I felt as if the universe had strategically set me up to crash and burn. I was immediately disheartened and unsure of my qualification to lead. It wasn’t the only time I found myself struggling too. After months of tireless efforts to fulfill the unreachable expectations I had devised, I realized how ridiculous I was being. Perfection is an age-old myth — a farcical fantasy. No one was expecting me to know everything about everything except for myself. 

I finally realized that reaching out for help to supplement the areas my knowledge lacked wasn’t a blow to my plan, but a revision I hadn’t initially considered and should have. Yes, I’m an Editor-in-Chief and therefore someone to whom people look for guidance, but I learned that allowing others to fill in the gaps was not indicative of failure. If anything, being comfortable enough to know when I needed support became a success in itself. 

While there are obvious things that I will not miss about my high school experience — such as illegally parking in a district spot junior year when I didn’t get a permit, plastering photos of my face along the hallway walls during student government election week and struggling through precalculus in all of its glory — I WILL miss all of the kind-hearted people who reassured me that needing help doesn’t make me any less valuable to the Bark community, or any community for that matter. Thank you for embracing all of my imperfections and trusting me to lead you through the year in spite of them. My experience with you all has been a gift.