By Brooke Schultz
Freshman year, as I was meeting with my advisor, he suggested I get involved somewhere on campus. I said that I had decided to write for The Elm, which was the one thing I knew that I wanted to do for certain when I came into Washington College. I had worked for my student newspaper in high school and was overly devoted to it—I had spent my senior year trying to make people take it seriously (apparently, this is a trend).
“One day you could be running it,” he said about The Elm.
I didn’t believe him. Yet, here we are, as the sun is setting on the other side of that day.
When I began writing for The Elm under Paige Kube’s leadership, I was so nervous, I didn’t know what section to write for. So I followed one of the girls from my peer mentor group to Student Life, where I worked for a semester under Emma Way and then Sabrina Carroll. My sophomore year, News borrowed me and I had the chance to work with Molly Igoe and Catalina Righter.
In those two years, I learned so much from four different editors and two editors-in-chief. I learned how to write interesting ledes, how to tell stories concisely and accurately, and how to ask the right questions. Most importantly, I learned how to listen to the things people were telling me and care for them.
Through The Elm, I also got to work with some of the most incredible people who have enlivened my Monday nights (and sometimes early Tuesday mornings) every week for two years. Thank you to the crew who worked around the clock all dang week this year—Molly, Abby, Rosie, Sophie, Dan, Jack, Caroline, Amy Rohn, Gabby, Savannah, Tori, Kenzie, Andy, Ben, and Amy Rudolph. I had essentially two staffs this year, and your dedication and patience with my weirdness is so appreciated. We have had a wild year—and you all have made it so much better. (Thank you for hanging on with me. And thank you for the milkshake runs at midnight, the 20-minute Vine compilation breaks, the weird riddle of who was plastering the Pub House with Dr. Seuss references, although I only doubted it was Jack for a second.)
Thank you to Team Lit House for always having our back and to Dr. O’Connor, because the entire College thinks you’re our advisor (sorry).
I am honored to have worked under the three lovely and kickass editors-in-chief before me. Thank you, Cat, for hiring me for News last year. Under your leadership, I learned so much of what it was to be a journalist, what it was like to listen to the stories and write their truths. I’ll never be as eloquent as you, but thank you.
I’m also glad for the chance to have worked with Molly. Thank you for tolerating me, teaching me how to lay out a section, and being a friend.
Going into this year, I was nervous in a way that differed from when I first walked into the Publications House as a freshman. But I had spent a summer honing my skills with the Kent County News. Thank you to Leann Schenke and Dan Divilio. And thank you, thank you to Trish McGee (i.e. the Local Authority) for your mentorship. You said I was good when I started at KCN, and I promise you that was not true. Thank you for helping me grow as a journalist.
And to Melissa—it has been an honor working as your last editor-in-chief here. When you screamed at us my freshman year about missing deadlines (the last deadline I ever missed, by the way), I didn’t think I would be coming back. But I am so thankful I did. Thank you for your mentorship, your guidance, and your general badassery this year. We had a lot thrown at us and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you, but you were always there for me to lean on and I am grateful.
Last but not least: Abby (or Bean), I have loved watching you grow from a writer who snatched an Elm at National Day on Writing and darted away when I tried to tell you about the paper, to Student Life editor, to News editor, to editor-in-chief all in just two years. Thank you for your energy, your humor, and your friendship. I can’t wait to see what you’re capable of, because I know it’s big things.
As an editor, all I knew was that I wanted people to find themselves somewhere in our pages, to know they had a space with us because we are the voice of the students since 1930. I tried my hardest to listen. I’ll let you be the judge of that, but know that if you ever have questions, complaints, or suggestions, we are here for you.