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Views: How Viewpoints changed my life

(Angel Peña | Viewpoints)

Read Time:2 Minute, 27 Second
By Leo Cabral

I tried several times to find a place to fit in at Riverside City College with little success until I found Viewpoints.

I joined clubs and coalitions throughout the campus in search of something. I was not entirely certain what I was looking for. Comradery, solidarity or maybe a purpose.

The positions I held in some organizations were fruitless. In some roles I felt like there was not enough activism. In other roles I felt that I did not belong amongst my peers.

I joined Viewpoints in my second semester. I signed up as a staff photographer and kept a fairly low profile for a while. I genuinely believed I would not belong and that I was not good enough. I almost did not join at all until my journalism instructor, Allan Lovelace, showed his journalism lecture class the Viewpoints newsroom.

I have to admit, the newsroom regulars and editors are rather intimidating at first. But they were so kind and welcoming that I wanted to be everyone’s friend. Plus, the newsroom was pretty cool.

However, I had classes and prior commitments to other organizations that required much of the time I could have spent in the newsroom so it was not until my second semester with Viewpoints in fall 2019 that I began to take on a more active role.

I did not join any clubs, I resigned from my previous roles, accommodated my schedule and I devoted myself to the newsroom.

It was the best decision I made in my academic career and I have attended multiple colleges.

Things changed once I placed Viewpoints as my top priority and began spending all of my time in the newsroom.

I applied to be the photo editor after Angel Peña, my former photo editor and the outgoing Editor-in-Chief, taught me so much and made the job look fun.

My relationship with the editors and advisers became more interactive and I loved it. I came out of my shell and became more confident in myself and in my work. I even branched out into other sections of the paper.

I was taken aback when I was asked to be the managing editor that same semester. Finally, I had found a place where all my hard work meant something. It was rewarding being part of a team of so many people from different walks of life whose unifying goal is public service.

In one year with Viewpoints, I have made many meaningful friendships, grown professionally and internally and have had fun while doing it all. When I came out to my staff as nonbinary and shared my chosen name and pronouns, everyone accepted me immediately without question.

Through late nights, deadlines and even pandemics, the Viewpoints team holds it together and is there for one another. I could not have asked for better or more accepting friends.

I found what I was looking for in Viewpoints.

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