During my first week at Amherst, I ran into two editors of The Amherst Student pinning up a poster in the foyer of Appleton Hall. I had been on my high school newspaper for the past three years and knew that I wanted to work for a publication in college, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to join. I talked with the two of them for a few minutes and they handed me a copy of the paper and told me when and where to show up for the intro meeting.
That first year at Amherst, I started writing for the news section, but I wasn’t necessarily the most dedicated writer. I didn’t contribute an article every single week or raise my hand when a news editing position opened up. I was too busy trying to figure out who my “new” college self was and, on a more fundamental level, how this school worked — all while adjusting to what it means to be away from home for the first time. And so, I was on the outskirts of the newspaper.
But the summer before my sophomore year, I decided that it was time to get serious. When a news editing position opened up, I pounced on the opportunity and began working alongside my friend and partner-in-journalism Shawna Chen ’20.
Tuesday nights quickly became both a blessing and a curse. I can’t tell you the hours I’ve spent in the basement of Morrow Dormitory, staring at a computer screen until my eyes and brain are numb, second-guessing each and every comma and semicolon. At the same time, Tuesday nights were incredibly fun. The newsroom is a place filled with stories and laughter and shared pain, all in pursuit of a final product, each and every week. Slowly but surely, I began to get to know the other editors. Soon I even began to consider many of them my friends.
In the context of Amherst, this may seem unusual. Not to bring up the athlete/non-athlete divide, but most athletes are friends with other athletes and vice versa. Even I, a club sport gal, am mostly friends with people on my team. But in the newsroom, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the fact that you are spending almost eight hours a week working collaboratively with this group of people, all of whom are passionate about producing this paper and about journalism as a whole. This sort of community is a rare treasure at a place like Amherst.
Since becoming editor-in-chief, I have experienced times when the paper makes me want to rip my hair out. There are weeks when everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong — those are the worst. Still, there are other weeks when I can’t stop laughing because of another editor’s well-argued tirade that the Dixie Chicks are a tool of Communist propaganda. (Thanks, Henry Newton ’21!)
To me, The Student is important to the college for a lot of reasons. It’s the only news source on campus, it provides students with great experience for their future careers, it’s an incredible way to become more familiar and comfortable with this college. But it’s also a community.
I’m going to miss a lot about working on the newspaper. I love the process of editing articles, seeing where they begin and where they end. I love the rush of adrenaline that comes from meeting a deadline. I love seeing the way that The Student’s work impacts campus and how it makes being a member of Amherst’s community better. Perhaps what I will miss the most, however, is the company — the people who are consistently exceptional, both in the work that they do and in their friendship.
Now, like all good farewell editorials, it’s time for some thank yous.
First, thank you to each and every one of the editors whom I’ve worked with over the past four years for being so kind, smart, supportive, funny and grounding, no matter what.
A very special thank you to my predecessors, Nate Quigley ’19 and Isabel Tessier ’19, who taught me all that I know and trusted me to carry on their wonderful legacies.
Thank you to Olivia Gieger ’21 and Natalie De Rosa ’21 for stepping into this role after me. I cannot wait to see what the two of you do in this position with all of your creativity and intelligence combined.
Thank you to my friends and family (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!) for putting up with me over the past year. I know how many times I’ve made excuses or explained my stress away with just the single word “newspaper,” and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your advice and support along the way.
Now, comes the most important thank you of all. Thank you to Shawna for working so closely with me over the past year. So much has happened during our time at the helm and it has been incredibly exciting and rewarding to share this experience with someone else. This past year would have been a lot different without you by my side.
Lastly, thank you to the Amherst community for reading The Student. I know that college is a busy time, but I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see someone sitting at a table for breakfast in Valentine Dining Hall and taking a few minutes to read the articles that our reporters and editors work so hard on every week.
Keep reading. I promise that it’s worth it.