If you told me in my first year at St. Thomas University that when I graduated, I would be managing the student newspaper during a world-wide pandemic, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Since STU announced they were cancelling in-person classes on March 13, everything changed, and not just at STU. We had to move The Aquinian online, cancel our remaining two print issues and turn stories around quicker than we’ve done all year.
We had to miss our final day of laying out the paper, the day we train the new staff and our end of the year party where everyone gets to know each other. I know it’s for the best, and to keep everyone safe, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a sad end to The Aquinian’s 84th volume.
It’s been the most valuable, rewarding experience of my university career to be involved with The Aquinian last year as the arts editor and this year as the Managing Editor. I’ve always loved print journalism, but to actually be a part of printing a weekly paper is something I never imagined would happen.
I fell in love with print journalism when I was a kid. I love how it feels, how it smells and how it leaves ink on your hands when you’ve put it away. My grandparents would save me the comics and crosswords from the daily paper, and when I got older, I became fascinated with typewriters. I typed everything from poetry, to songs and letters to my friends and family on a grey-blue Smith-Corona Clipper.
In 2013, Hard Times in the Maritimes came out, a Saint John magazine by Julia Wright and Pamela Marie Pierce that published poetry, creative writing and photographs by locals. More zines started popping up around town, like Exposed and SAD DOG magazine, and I found a drive to submit to them in whatever form I was creating at the time – poetry, short stories or photography.
But it was Wright who inspired me to pursue journalism. She went on to write bizarre stories for Vice and profiles of local Saint Johnners, including myself, to appear in the Telegraph-Journal. She now hosts Information Morning at CBC Saint John.
It’s crazy to think that almost six years ago I was graduating high school with not a clue of what to do with my life. It’s crazy to think that I moved from my beloved home, Saint John, to pursue journalism at STU. It’s even crazier to think that I’m now graduated, and am in the same position I was when I graduated high school.
But regardless of the uncertainties and lack of normalcy, I know this year will be one I’ll never forget. It’s been valuable because I became immersed in campus life. I’ve told stories that matter to students and the greater community like when STU formed a blockade to support the Wet’suwet’en nation, or when the Fredericton Women’s March focused on political representation, or when Clinic 554 announced its closure. We’ve kept the campus updated and we’ve put out some great looking issues. I’m sad our time is over, but I’m sure as hell happy to have my weekends back.
To all of our writers, thank you so much for putting yourself out there and getting involved. Whether you wrote once or 20 times, just know that we appreciate you more than you could ever know. Without you taking the initiative to write and become a part of this wild student-run paper, we certainly wouldn’t be able to fill 12 pages.
To all of our staff, thanks for all your hard work this year. I know you know the feeling well of putting out a great issue and seeing people grab it from the stack. I’m so proud of all of you who got involved and glad to hear all of who are able will return for another year. I am sure there is no better way to get involved in the campus community than to run a paper which carries the word across it.
To Caitlin, thank you for being there for me and for being a great Editor-in-Chief and friend. Thanks for being a grounding voice in times of hardship. Thanks for being a shoulder to cry on. Thanks for being someone I know I can trust and count on. Things got hard, and often, but we knew we’d make it through, and we were always able to put out another issue with a sigh of relief and a sense of accomplishment. Thanks for being the best person to bounce ideas off of. I love how creative we got with some of the issues, and I love when we were able to mix our ideas together to come up with the best edits, the best designs and the best solutions for problems. Honestly, I can’t believe we did it. I can’t believe we’re at the end. Hopefully we get a convocation.
To the incoming Editor-in-Chief, Diana Chávez, and Managing Editor, Jasmine Gidney, this is a hard gig. But it’s one that you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s one you’ll be able to look back on and say, “Wow, did I actually do that?” I know you two will do an incredible job, you both have so much talent and love for journalism that I have no doubt in my mind the paper will be in great hands. Keep it cool, try to relax and maybe take up meditation or something.
Peace and love,
Managing Editor 2019-2020