Since joining the newspaper her freshman year, becoming editor of the arts and entertainment and opinion sections and eventually starting the Humans of Northwest beat, junior Becca Boren is leaving the Missourian.
Boren is a junior, but only in credits. On occasion she will jokingly call herself a “big nerd” because of her ability to always excel in the classroom.
“I have ADHD, and typically ADHD kids have specific interests. Luckily for me, mine has always been school,” Boren said. “I went through the gifted program when I was in elementary school, took a bunch of AP classes in high school and left with 22 credit hours.”
This admirable number of college credits allowed Boren to enter Northwest with many more credits than the average student.
Boren, a human services major, has been on the Missourian staff for two academic years. By the beginning of her second semester on staff, she had already acquired the editor position of the arts and entertainment section.
“They didn’t even ask me if I wanted to be the editor; they just told me I was going to be the editor,” Boren said. “I edited the A&E section for a half year and then I moved on to edit A&E and opinion. So that’s where my most involvement is.”
Junior Rachel Ladd, an elementary education major, has been friends with Boren since their junior year of high school. Ladd said she has a hard time pinpointing some of her favorite moments with Boren, but overall cannot recall a time where they were not there for each other.
“I think others perceive Becca as being very confident,” Ladd said. “In the classes I've had with her, she's never been afraid to take part in discussions or answer questions out loud. I also think they see her faith, because that is something I see that radiates from her. Her love for Jesus is very evident in her life.”
With such an impact in such a short amount of time, Boren is leaving with a heavy heart. But she does this of her own will, as she is choosing to focus on something she has loved since she was only a 5 year old: God.
“When I was five, I went around and told everyone in my church that I was going to be a pastor,” Boren said. “My pastor at the time was my best friend. He was just such a big influence on my life. Then, I got to first grade and none of my other friends wanted to be pastors, so I started to think it wasn’t a real job, but it is. I’ve changed my mind several times, but I’ve always come back to being a pastor.”
Though being an editor and pastor may seem like two drastically different occupations, Boren manages to make both complement one another. This is where her human services major comes into play, as she shows a natural want to spread kindness.
“There was a time that I felt so invisible, I just wanted someone to see me. I just wanted people to know that somebody cared,” Boren said. “I wanted these stories to be about the individual, but I think it came from a place inside of me of needing to be heard or needing to be understood.”
As stated before, Boren started the Humans of Northwest section in the Missourian. This beat is a dedication to exploring and understanding interesting individuals at Northwest. It is an attempt to show that everyone you meet on the side of the street has their own story.
The time in Boren’s life she references is her freshman year of high school, the time she describes as the worst year of her life.
Boren lost two of her grandparents before the first semester of school had even ended. She notes that she was especially close with her grandfather on her father’s side. In this same year, her sister began to have seizures.
Physically sick with grief and worry, Boren also began to feel isolated in school and home.
“I didn’t talk to anybody much and it was a very powerless situation,” Boren said. “I started giving myself bruises. Eventually it got so bad that at one point I considered killing myself. I was in such a dark place.”
Out of this dark place came some of Boren’s defining moments.
“I am such an introverted person, but in that year of hell I was going through there was a fundraiser at my school for research in pediatric cancer,” Boren said. “I just remember one day looking at the poster and it said ‘you can shave your head for a good cause.’ I had just reached a breaking point, so I grabbed a permission slip, took it home and said ‘mom, I’m going to shave my head tomorrow.’”
Despite her mother’s initial reluctance to allow her to shave her head, Boren was able to eventually persuade her mother.
Telling no one but her mother, Boren attended school the next day and had her hair completely shaved off.
“They shaved my head bald and I was on the news, but it was such a critical point in my life,” Boren said. “I had tried so long to just hide behind other people, never spoke up in class, never talked to people that weren’t already close friends and never ventured outside my comfort zone until that moment. It was such a freeing moment. I was myself and I wasn’t afraid to be myself.”
Boren feels the hard times can best be summed up in one quote: “My god is bigger than this moment.”
“There were so many times I felt like there was no possible way I could make it through what I was going through,” Boren said. “God is so much bigger than these moments where we are hurting. You can get through it and you are strong enough. That’s what that quote means to me.”
Boren learned from these harder times as well and used her experiences to help those close to her. Sometimes this meant being there for some of her closest friends in their time of need.
Junior Lindsey Walter, an elementary education major and Boren’s best friend, has known Boren for eight years. Walter says she and Boren have always been there for each other. Eventually, this is what led them to be roommates at Northwest.
“When my great grandpa died, she was there for me,” Walter said. “She went to the funeral and held me the whole time, and she's always been there for me whenever I need her. She comes to me when I need her at the drop of a hat.”
Everything Boren has been through can best be summed up not through words, but through art.
Boren has a number of tattoos on her body. One is a sun she and her mother both have to symbolize their relationship, while another is a message in Hebrew stating “child of God.”
“If you ask me about that one in public, I’ll tell you it says ‘Beyoncé is cool, but Jesus is better,’” Boren said jokingly.
Among the tattoos is another depicting Hogwarts castle exploding from the pages of a book. Boren is a huge Harry Potter fan and says the series is one of her favorite ways to engage in escapism.
“Harry Potter is my favorite book series, and growing up it was a way for me to connect with my family,” Boren said. “For my grandma’s 70th birthday we all went out and got Harry Potter tattoos. We’d go to all the movie and book midnight releases together. So it was just this really binding thing for me.”
Her detailed Harry Potter tattoo and passion for reading the series is perhaps the greatest example of Boren’s love for expression.
Boren’s final moments at the Missourian and her reason for leaving are the culmination of everything she’s been through. Her love for art and entertainment, her faith and belief in others are what led her on her journey today.
Boren has one final thing to say before she officially signs off from Missourian staff.
“There were times where I still believed in God, but I did not like him,” Boren said. “I would ask myself ‘why would this god want anybody to hurt this much?’ We have all had these thoughts and doubts. We have all had these questions. I’ve been there, but you are never too far gone.”
Giving up the Northwest Missourian means moving on, but only toward things she had already been working for: bringing others together and making sure they feel loved.