Finding my footing in her footsteps

Elana Zeltser

When I was little it always took me an unnecessarily long time to get dressed in the morning. Not because I can claim to care about or understand fashion, but rather because I had to wait for my older sister to pick out her outfit so I could put on exactly the same thing. She was not a fashionista either, so we often ended up in tie dye pants and water shoes.

We weren’t twins but everything had to be bought in pairs as if we were. When the same present was given to us in two different colors, I would have her choose first so that I could follow up with “that is the one I wanted all along,” grab it and run away. She was the person I always wanted to be around, but also the person I always wanted to be.

Even when I branched out in the wardrobe department, I had a hard time making decisions for myself. This ranged from the small problems like what I should eat for lunch, to the big ones like where I should go to high school.

After turning in my Harvard-Westlake deposit on the last possible day, I started signing up for classes. My sister was had done journalism in high school so, naturally, I joined the Introduction to Journalism class.

It didn’t take long to realize that as a member of the newspaper I could not leave the choices to other people and run away with the byline. It took a certain amount of conviction that I truthfully didn’t have when I first joined the Spectrum.

However, as soon as I realized that the newspaper was something I cared about in my own right, I found myself being able to make calls by myself. I knew what I thought looked nice, I knew what I thought sounded weird. Even if it turned out I was wrong, I felt opinionated about something — and it felt good.

Four years later, the Chronicle room is the place where I feel most comfortable standing up for what I think. While I usually avoid confrontation, I am willing to argue a design, caption, headline or flag with the other people on staff — and trust me, we do for hours. I have found people and a teacher who make room for this discussion in the first place by caring about the random details I care about — details that are so tiny, most of our readers will never notice them while consumed by a picture of baseball player Arden Pabst ’13 mislabeled as Chinese teacher Bin Bin Wei.

I talk to my sister, now a film major at UCSB, on the phone almost every day, but it is never to ask her about the lead of my story.

That I can take care of on my own, knowing that my bylines are just that — mine.

After turning in my USC deposit on the last possible day, I will also study film next year, following in her lofty footsteps yet again. Clearly some things never change and I admittedly still need someone to tell me what to eat for most meals, but thanks to the Chronicle, tie dye pants will never make their comeback in my closet.