Opinion | Learn to love losing

By Lynnette Tibbott, Staff Columnist

In my very first semester as a wide-eyed first year, I went to the career fair. There I saw a table for The Pitt News. I didn’t have any journalism experience, only a driving passion for writing. So, I applied to the opinions desk and was rejected. It took me nearly four years to realize this was the best thing that could have happened because it forced me to appreciate my growth. 

I held a grudge for two years after that. I didn’t want to apply again because I thought I would look like an even bigger fool if I was rejected twice. So I pursued writing in classes instead, knowing that my biggest audience would only be my Pitt professors. But in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn’t enough. 

I convinced myself I was a terrible writer, a terrible student and even a terrible person for not giving 100% of myself all the time. For the entirety of my first year, I was in the limbo of loss. I got the lowest grade on a paper I’d ever received. I failed a biology test. My roommate and best friend since fifth grade moved out of our Brackenridge dorm. COVID-19 stole my second semester, and I lost everything I loved about Pitt — the freedom, my friends and all the imagined possibilities of what could have been.

I felt like I couldn’t control the change, and I hated it. I felt like my life was unwinding before my eyes and exposing all of my anxieties and issues I had tried so hard to suppress. 

Sophomore year was spent online, and I subsequently longed for the time of normalcy. I was searching for something to hold onto from my first year, but the magic felt lost. I lost friends, I lost my ambition to do something with my time. I was stuck inside, living a comfortable lifestyle with idle habits — wake up, turn on my Zoom class and forget that life was anything but normal. I lost my determination. 

Junior year felt like a second chance to make up for the lost time. I strived to make it feel the same, but, of course, this was a pipe dream. Time changed me and the people around me. My friends and I wouldn’t hang out like we used to.

In the second semester of my junior year, I made friends with two people who worked for The Pitt News. In class, I told them about my application nightmare during my first year and the rejection that followed. They both happily encouraged me to apply again, so I sent in my application before the end of that class. I was hired within the next week.

I worked on the culture desk for the rest of that semester until the beginning of my senior year. I had no idea how journalism worked, and even now I’m still learning. Talking to people was the scariest part of the job. I also didn’t expect such quick turnaround times. But, I made it work, despite my overwhelming feelings. 

Eventually, I was able to switch desks at The Pitt News. I wanted to tell stories, to add my opinions and to write pieces that felt personal to me. I wanted a change of scenery I wanted to write opinions. 

I switched desks, and I’m beyond thankful for the opportunity it gave me. Beyond all, the opinions desk gave me an outlet to express myself. Sometimes, it feels like I’m writing into the void, but as long as one person reads one of my columns and can take something from it, it makes all of my writing anxieties worth it. 

For almost the entirety of my senior year, I was scared of losing everything. I was scared of losing the people in my life the friends that I cared for and found a family in. I was scared of losing the security of college life that transitional period where I could act like an adult without the full responsibility of a nine-to-five lifestyle or any of its taxing equivalents. I was scared of change because change is the most difficult to adapt to when it’s out of your control. 

But the changes you can’t control are usually the most beneficial. You’re forced into a position to see who you really are and what you could become. I’ve lost a lot during my time in college, and I’m going to continue to lose — friends, love and feelings. But despite losing what I know now, I won’t ever lose myself, my ambitions or who I am as a person.

Although we lose a lot in life, we can never truly lose the opportunities, lessons and memories that life gifts us. I’m happy to lose because I know that something better is always around the corner. 


Lynnette Tibbott primarily writes about topics in the sciences and humanities. Write to her at [email protected]