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At the beginning of high school, I never imagined that my writing was anything more than mine alone. My childhood diary came adorned with a lock designed to be secured around the worn pages. Late-night existentialist thoughts were buried in the Notes app of my phone, shielding my naïvety from being disseminated across the Internet. Even my doodles, an entertaining demonstration of my substandard artistic ability, were folded up and stowed away in the drawers of my desk.
As I navigated the end of high school and the onset of college, something tangibly shifted. I now write and publish my ideas openly; my emotions, feelings, and reflections are no longer sheltered in a void. Writing for The Crimson has been invigorating, revitalizing, and above all, deeply rewarding. These sentiments persist throughout every article I publish — truly.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude every time I am reminded of the reach of my words: beyond grateful for the emails, Instagram direct messages, and taps on the shoulder that I receive from thoughtful people who take the time to acknowledge my writing.
In full honesty, I do not write for the added line on my resume. I do not write for the attention — no, not even for the kind notes and pats on the back. I do not write for self-satisfaction and pride.
I write because I am compelled by the purpose and meaning it instills in my life. Writing enables me to spew out the stream of conscious thoughts circulating my mind, adding vitality to my internalizations as the words manifest themselves on the page. It is healing and restorative; my potpourri of ideas finally procure time and space to be organized, contemplated, and acted upon. The act of writing is not a chore, as many may believe it to be. To be a writer is a privilege, and it is truly an honor.
The first writing piece I ever published in public media was for the Times Union, a newspaper based in my hometown of Albany, New York. The premise of my article stemmed from a piece I read about why the ‘Z’ in Generation Z stands for zombie. The writer of the article sharply criticized Gen Z for being lazy, entitled, and ambitionless — all characteristics that our modern world rightfully views with disdain.
I knew I had to write something in response. American society is at a crossroads: the divides forged between Generation Z and the generations preceding ours are detrimental and unsustainable. In our rapidly-evolving society, it has never been more crucial to ensure that age differences do not impair our ability to remain collaborative, interlinked, and non-judgmental. The words that lined my pages included uplifting examples of Gen Z activists who have driven transformative change, emphasizing how their efforts would not be possible without the perseverance of those preceding them and united generational cooperation.
Once I finally put my pencil down and my piece was sent out for publication, I thought I was done. I thoroughly enjoyed crafting this op-ed and was genuinely proud of it. Still, I believed it would render a quick glance from newspaper readers and nothing more. I quickly came to recognize that this was not the case.
Soon after the op-ed was published, students and teachers from my high school reached out to me about the article, interested to hear more about my perspective. More importantly, I was fortunate to glean their personal viewpoints on the current position of Generation Z at the forefront of societal attention, which added insightful nuance to my understanding of the generational divides across time. The community of people engaged with my piece came together as one unit — ruminating, reevaluating, and readapting our instilled notions — an eye-opening, humbling, and enriching experience to witness as a writer.
This article, as ordinary as it seemed back then, laid the basis for my renewed vision of writing in the future to come.
Ever since, writing has bridged me to individuals who fortuitously relate to my ideas, emotions, and feelings. Sharing my high school writing with family, friends, and peers revealed that the scribbles across the page were not just attributed to me: they resided inside the hearts of many.
The truth was that perhaps my words were not just mine.
Rather, they were words from my neighbor’s story, from my professor’s story, from fascinating individuals’ stories whose lives aligned with mine in serendipitous ways.
Putting my thoughts to paper empowers me to tell everyday stories about everyday people in an everyday world. Humanity resides in the willingness to write something well; storytelling energizes me to be a part of something bigger than myself. I have come to realize that our shared human experience is an elaborate network of roads: converging, intertwining, and meandering in unexpected manners. Writing allows me to bring these crisscrossing experiences into a shared space of empathy.
My journey will consistently involve a struggle to unearth the exact words I seek; however, I am now forever equipped with an impetus behind why I work so hard to discover them. Above all, I aspire to always be the woman, classmate, and friend who others can entrust with their stories, wishes, and future visions.
Alvira Tyagi ’25, a Crimson Editorial editor, lives in Pennypacker Hall. Her column “Reckonings & Revelations” appears on alternate Mondays.
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