Silverstein: Find Beauty in the Changes


Natalie Colby

Kayleigh Silverstein (Photo by Natalie Colby | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Kayleigh Silverstein, Special Projects Managing Editor, News Writer


I have no idea how I got here, or where I’m going — and that’s ok. 

Growing up, I wanted to be a marine biologist and a pastry chef on the side. I went on one singular whale watching trip and watched a lot of Food Network, what do you expect? I could never make up my mind.

When I was in high school, though, I did decide one thing: I needed to get out. I wanted to explore, engage in adventure and leave New Jersey.

So, I came to Utah and signed up on a whim for an orientation backpacking trip in the Uintas. I had to borrow all of the supplies because I had never backpacked before, but our guides taught me everything — it was one of the best adventures of my life. 

I changed my major about as many times as they’ll allow you to. I started out undeclared, then went international studies, English to psychology and ended up on sociology and Spanish. I even threw in some anthropology and art classes to try to narrow down my passions. For years, it didn’t seem to be working, but I finally landed on studies that I found great fascination and wonder in. 

In my freshman year, I randomly decided to apply for the Chronicle. I wanted to be an arts writer, but the news desk reached out to me to schedule an interview. With no AP style knowledge or experience writing articles, I got onboarded and learned what I could on my own. I had always been fascinated with journalism, with my dad saving the Sunday comics for me in elementary school and doing the New York Times crossword with my grandmother growing up, but I never thought I’d be the one writing the articles in between. But over 100 articles later, I can confidently call myself a journalist. 

My identity and the labels I used to describe myself changed about as many times as my major. I look nothing like I did when I entered college. From the shaved head to the tattoos, I learned that identities are moldable and beautifully unique. 

I even had eight different versions for this farewell. I’ve been writing this since last year, trying to avoid the very thing that’s happening now: stream of consciousness. I wanted so badly to plan ahead, to avoid procrastination, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. And I’ve learned that’s ok. 

Despite the ups and downs and through the change, I had a wealth of people supporting me. To Sydney Stam and Axe Tang, the world does not deserve your beautiful minds. To every desk and assistant editor, it was a pleasure to work with your creative and passionate souls. To every writer, copy editor, photographer, designer and social media contributor, this newspaper would not be what it is today without your intelligence and heart. 

To Thea Soter, Parker Dunn and Natalie Colby, I wouldn’t have wanted to embrace change with anyone else.

On my orientation backpacking trip and at the Chronicle, I met some of my best friends. In these random happenstances, I made memories that will last a lifetime. Without changing my major every other day, I wouldn’t have found home in my current studies. Without trying on different identities and experimenting with my gender, I wouldn’t be confident shouting my queerness from the rooftops. I’m here because of the changes, and couldn’t have planned this if I tried. 

I still don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up,” but I know I would not be who I am today without the beauty of the unplanned.


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