No matter what font you read this in, I want you to know one thing: I typed it in Times New Roman, arguably (and dare I say, objectively), the best font.
My love of Times New Roman does not come from the aesthetic flow of the lines or even the surprising legibility of the serif lettering. It came from the nostalgic meaningfulness that wrapped itself around every word of the text. The font takes the role of a constant in my quickly changing narrative.
For me, college reflects a time of change.
The past three years felt like a whirlwind composed of burnout, gender and sexuality crises, relationship anxieties and scheduled-in meltdowns. I’ve changed in more ways than I can count, but my go-to font hasn’t. Change is not bad nor good – just different. But due to my neurodivergence, change does not do good things for me (besides the occasional gender euphoria, of course).
When I got my admission letter from the University of Florida, I used she/her pronouns. When I moved to Gainesville, I started using they/them. By the end of my freshman year, I added he/him in addition to they/them. Now, I step into my junior year 10 months on testosterone with a new name, a few measly mustache hairs, a voice an octave lower and a continuation of the uncertainty that never left my side.
Through this process of self-discovery, I wrote stories. I filled pages with crisp lines of Times New Roman serif letters that uncovered my deepest thoughts. I wrote about how I felt misaligned with my body, and about my doubts, my goals, my anxieties and my life. I processed my change through a Google Doc: 12-point font, double spaced, Times New Roman. The familiar format existed as a constant.
My connection to the font began in high school when I took my first journalism class.
The class introduced a feeling that I needed to get used to: empowerment. I felt alive for the first time in my life as words started pouring out of myself as I shared the stories of my classmates. Through my words, I told stories that mattered, and I learned how to uplift others. My involvement in activism led me to seek out journalism that made a difference and stories that spread truth and promote changes.
My high school journalism teacher’s requirement of the typeface format stuck with me for a long time, and her influence set the very foundation of my college experience. She took me under her wing when I needed support, and she pushed me to write stories that challenged me. Together, we sat on shared Google Docs, writing and revising in my favorite font. With some assistance from Times New Roman, she helped me discover my passion for writing.
Suddenly, I grew into a college student. The abrupt change hit me hard, and COVID pushed everything to online platforms. I lost the intimate interactions between myself and my professors. Instead, I got separated by a screen of black boxes, and my depression and anxiety got worse. I could not fall back on the connections I built in high school. However, I still typed in my favorite font, and I got a cat.
I grew up with cats, so the absence of a pet weighed on me.
Even so, my cat entered my life as a surprise. I walked into the shelter with the intention of helping a friend pick out a cat, but I left with my own. When I saw his little pink nose and big eyes, I couldn’t resist. I already had the perfect name in mind: (Times New) Roman.
Roman has since been registered as an emotional support animal and helps me stay on top of my routines. I have less time to write for myself with my class obligations and commitments, but my cat keeps my mental health from plummeting. He became a new constant: my personal Times New Roman.
When I look to the future, I brace myself, and I prepare for the inevitable changes ahead. No matter how good it will feel to accomplish things like top surgery and a legal name change, move away and get married, they still send me into a spiral of anxiety. However, my computer screen streaked with my favorite font will always stand there as I navigate it all while seeing my cat greet me at the end of every day. Change feels scary, but Times New Roman will always remain a constant in my life.