A letter from the incoming 2020-21 Editor-in-Chief

(Submitted by Diana Chávez)

My love story with The Aquinian started as one of those love-at-first-sight moments you see in movies.

I went to my first story meeting not knowing what to expect. I felt intimidated to be in the presence of these upper years that looked so knowledgeable and put together (eventually, when I became one, I realized they were just pretending). The features editor pitched a story idea on missing her hometown in New Brunswick. My first-year self thought, why not include the international perspective as well? I raised my hand.

I was terrified. My heart was pounding as if I had just run a 10K marathon after not exercising for five years.

Spoiler art: They liked it and took it. I added my own flair to the piece and got to write the story. I felt confident and uplifted. I walked out of that story meeting knowing I wanted to become Editor-in-Chief in my fourth year.

Before The Aquinian, I felt shy and self-conscious about showing my writing to others. (I would say very shy and extremely self-conscious but CP style and The Aquinian editorial team wouldn’t allow it).

During the past three years at The Aquinian, I’ve grown as a journalist and a person. I’ve become more confident about writing in general and writing in English. As someone who had mostly written in Spanish before coming to STU, I always felt self-conscious and was careful about writing something that sounded awkward. When I was hired as news editor last year, I realized it was all in my head.

I’ve written stories that are close to my heart: stories about women in politics, a story about Ecuadorian students’ mental health when their country was under civil unrest and an investigative piece about how St. Thomas University is doing with incorporating the Calls to Action on campus, amongst others.

This year, being news editor has tested every fibre of my being. But I’ve learned to become friends with my stress and use it to my advantage. And like friends, we sometimes fight.

From having mental breakdowns three times a week the first few issues to writing a 2,000 word story the day before the print deadline in second semester, I’d say I’ve come a long way.

A note for the incoming editorial staff: you’ll be okay, I promise — Jasmine Gidney, the incoming Managing Editor, and I have your backs.

The Aquinian has brought people into my life that have become some of my best friends. Thank you for the rants, the grocery runs, for bringing me Tim Hortons’ breakfast sandwiches and having conversations in the car in four different languages when going out for lunch. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else.

To this year’s amazing Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor duo, Caitlin Dutt and Jerry-Faye Flatt: thank you for being honest and real. Thank you for being open about how busy and stressful running the newspaper is, but also how rewarding it is. I hope Jasmine and I can live up to the legacy.

To everyone who’s not coming back to the team next year, I can’t wait to see what amazing things you all do. I love you guys and I will miss seeing your faces every Sunday at the CBC.

I’m excited for next year’s team of passionate and talented editors. I can’t wait to see what everyone brings to the table (believe me when I say the CBC will become your second home if it isn’t already).

Jasmine, I can’t wait to have night drives to McDonald’s and constant calls to vent with you. We’ll be stressed a lot of times but I’m really glad I’ll get to live this experience with you.

I’m looking forward to carrying on The Aquinian’s legacy and delivering accurate and high-quality journalism stories. The newspaper has done amazing things this year, like having lively centre spreads, reporting more on Indigenous stories, starting a mental health column and a home column and having amazing front page stories. I want to build upon that.

Next year, I hope to report even more on Indigenous stories, LGBTQIA2S+ stories, international student stories, protests and things that matter to you. Student journalism is real journalism and is needed more than ever.

Feel free to reach out anytime. I love talking to people. I spend most of my time on campus at the Great Hall.

To our volunteer writers – I hope to see your faces next year. The Aquinian wouldn’t be what it is without you. And to the new ones: please come to our story meetings. It may seem intimidating at first, but we are here to support you. Aside from reporting on campus stories, The Aquinian’s mission is to give an avenue to young journalists to dip their toes into journalism waters. Pitch story ideas, ask questions and be curious. Who knows – maybe you’ll walk out of your first story meeting knowing that you want to become Editor-in-Chief someday.

After all, it all starts with one story meeting.

See you in September,

Diana Chávez

Editor-in-Chief 2020-21