I’ve always thought its funny how I’m the opinion section editor. I always say I have no opinions on anything, except apparently drinking, because I’ve written about it several times. In high school I was voted Most Laid Back, I’m an uninformed optimist, so why the heck did they give me this gig?
What I quickly realized was that I didn’t have to write about the government or go on angry rants about the environment to run this section. While these sorts of things are important and have found a place in my section, opinions can also be about our own, everyday lives. During my tenure, this is the tone the opinion section has taken. One of my favorite pieces I wrote was in those first issues. I wrote about turning twenty-one, an experience all college students share.
I’d like to think that what I choose to write about connects with where the collective “us” is in our lives, that someone finishes my article, nods their head, and says “yeah man, that connects with me.” I’ve been fortunate enough to, on a few occasions, have those people reach out to me. The number of times I could probably count on one hand, but in a community that apparently “doesn’t read The Q,” it feels big.
As an editor, I’ve helped facilitate this experience for others. My writers have had their articles shared in classes, and they’ve received emails from administrators wanting their help editing policies. I am proud that my section has given students the voice they need and deserve.
As an athlete, this is the kind of work I want to be a part of. This is why I sit in the office, writing what’s in my soul at four in the morning (it always feels far more profound at that hour). Because, this matters to the people around me. If I was writing a paper for class I would go to bed, but when the rush of the team effort, of your words in print, of the possibility of connecting with someone you don’t even know is out there, how can you not write? It is immediate gratification at its most intellectual, and I hope I’ll be doing it for a long while.
I wish only to say three quick things, then I shall recede into the annals of Goucher history for ever.
1) Let’s not kid ourselves. The work I did these past three years with my History of Goucher feature was hardly journalism; it was merely an exercise in disguising shabby research with bad jokes. That said, I’m quite grateful to each of the paper’s editors (and there have been many over the years; I recall once sitting in the office doing layout, excusing myself to use the restroom, and returning moments later to find that the Arts Editor position had been vacated, filled, vacated again, and filled twice more in the few minutes I had been absent) for allowing me to pretend that I was a journalist.
2) Goucher is a community. This newspaper is important. It records the history of this school and of our years here. It needs writers, copyeditors, and photographers. Most of all, it needs people who care. In a community, the more people who care, the better the community will be. If you care, write for it. Come to the meetings, stay up till late slaving away over it. Try to make others care as much as you. You’ll make Goucher a better place in the process.
3) Since this reflection is the final thing I shall ever write for this newspaper, the period of the sentence which follows this one will officially end my tenure as Features Editor. Therefore, I can finally say without fear of reprimand that The Quindecim is a silly name for a paper, and I should much rather it be called The Banana Boudoir.
The Quindecim. The Q. Da Q. Q$. Q Bank. That thing that makes our lives a sleepless living hell. Whatever we’ve referred to it as over the past few years, The Q and the friends I’ve made through it have remained the most reliable constants in my time at Goucher. If you ask anyone who knew me in high school, at the beginning of freshman year, two years ago, and even last semester, they might say I’ve grown up in the time that’s passed. (Or maybe just that I’ve grown, because I can’t be quite bothered to grow up yet.) My interests and values and aspirations have changed time and time again, but The Q has always been an outlet for these changes through journalism and my friends have been right beside me, growing just the same. This newspaper was at times more important than my academic work and my health, but I believe it is the strongest asset I carry with me as I leave. It’s taught me more than anything else about determination and labor of love, about sacrifice and ethics, about myself and others. Most importantly it’s taught me quite a bit about Goucher, both the good and the bad (and the really, really bad).
Please, those of you who remain, remember that this school is only as it is because of the people in its community. This is your school and if you don’t use the voice that you have, the amplified voice that something as crucial and precious as an independent student newspaper can give you, then changes go unmade. We have all seen the power of even The Q, the publication so many see as irrelevant and worth little regard, in stirring mass conversation and movement. If you haven’t seen that, start paying attention. Be a part of it.
How to sum up my years on the staff of The Quindecim? Simply: Incredible. My four years, three if you consider the year I spent abroad, have each helped me grow as a writer, editor and person. As a Features Editor in my first year, the News and Associate Editor as a sophomore and to this year as the Managing and News Editor, I leave with a more fulfilling Goucher experience and with nothing less than a lifetime full of memories.
It’s been mixed with some good and some bad, some great and not so great moments, but that’s the beauty of working on a college publication, or any student organization. Sleep lost, ethical dilemmas, tracking people down for interviews, dealing with the repercussions of errors, misspellings, and more are typical terrors haunting a member of media. Issues in communication and being advised on how to run the newspaper, meanwhile, are to be expected, tolerated and, as I realize now, maybe should be encouraged for the sake of heightened journalist quality in the future.
I think the point is this: Working on The Q has, in large part, fortified the decision I began making pretty early on as a high school sophomore. It’s made me realize that I want to pursue journalism after graduation. The work I’ve accomplished on The Q over the last four years has introduced me to a troupe of talented, dedicated and inspiring individuals: fellow editors and students, members of the faculty and administration who I probably wouldn’t have interacted with otherwise.
That’s just a segment of the good I’ve encountered as an editor of this paper and that’s a little bit of why I’m proud to graduate from Goucher later this month.