A letter from the outgoing 2022-23 editor-in-chief

    Aaron Sousa is The Aquinian's editor-in-chief for the 2022-23 academic year. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    Dear reader,

    As someone whose job is to write, I’m unsure of just what to say in this letter. I write this from St. Thomas University’s journalism lab in Margaret Norrie McCain Hall. It’s a bright, sunny day, with not a cloud in the sky. Inside this tiny, mustard-yellow seminar room, I’m joined by two students working on an assignment for their radio and podcasting class. The conversations with their professor and their struggle to come up with the right words make me feel a bit better about my writer’s block.

    It also makes me think back on my time at STU — because I never thought I’d get this far.

    I’m the first in my immediate family to receive a post-secondary education and I’ve always felt worried about letting people down. A black cloud that always seemed to cast a dark shadow on my family’s history constantly told me I couldn’t fuck this up and I couldn’t fail. I showed up at STU in August 2019 as a scared first-year, and the pressure was on. My personal self-worth kind of reached an all-time low. 

    But that started to change from the day I walked into my first story meeting with The Aquinian.

    I started to make lifelong friends, one of whom even became my roommate. I met people who shared similar interests and actually enjoyed spending time with me. I never had one of those moments — and I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again. I quickly gained a reputation as the AQ’s “resident hamster,” running on my wheel to write stories on tight deadlines, or to chase after fire trucks and police cars during lab explosions and campus lockdowns, knowing full well the danger of those situations. 

    That’s just what a journalist does. We care about people and sharing stories that matter.

    My passion for this job dragged me through the world’s biggest stories: the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, the Jan. 6 Insurrection, the Freedom Convoy, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and even the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

    I won’t lie: there were many times when I wanted to quit; I wanted to quit school, I wanted to quit journalism, I sometimes wanted to quit my life. But a wonderful support group kept me here.

    To Brooklyn, the outgoing “Barely Managing Editor” — I reminisce of that cold bus ride where we met during first year welcome week when we made a pact to be The Aquinian’s managing team in our grad year. We’ve had our editorial disagreements, but we always left layout day knowing we were publishing great stories. Thank you for everything. I’m going to miss you.

    To our team of editors and volunteers — you kicked ass! Brooklyn and I chose to work with you because we had full confidence in your abilities as journalists, and never for one second did we regret our choice. This industry constantly changes and I sometimes worry about its future; however, as long as passionate journalists like yourselves exist, it will never go obsolete.

    To Mitchell, my partner-in-crime — I love you. You’ve kept me motivated through every obstacle I faced over these last few years, and I hope I’ve returned the favour. You’ve seen me at my highest highs and lowest lows, but you never gave up on me. You’re one of the most wholesome, amazing, caring, supportive, interesting and intelligent people I’ve ever known, and you’re probably the best person I will ever meet. Life would suck without you, so let’s keep on keeping on!

    To next year’s managing team — you will feel stressed, confused or possibly even doubt your abilities. Take a breath, because every team before you felt it too. You’ve nothing to worry about because I know you’re going to do great things. You’ll, without a doubt, be working the best job on campus. This is now your publication, so cherish every part of it, even when things seem boring or stressful. Always remember I have both of your backs and I’m just a call or text away.

    Finally, to our readers — thank you for supporting the work we do. We would not be able to do this job if it wasn’t for you generously giving us your utmost attention. Being a journalist is a tough gig; being a student journalist is a whole other beast. We’re often looked down upon as not being legitimate reporters. We have to balance a full course load, exams, study sessions, and sometimes part-time jobs with the stories we produce. It has been such an honour to tell your stories. I hope I made you proud.

    Being The Aquinian’s editor-in-chief has been the job of a lifetime. It’s been my safe haven over the last four years. Encapsulating all my AQ memories into this letter would be impossible, but I’ll tell you they involve a lot of Timbits and fun nights at The Cellar. I’m going to miss it.

    The future is unknown, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. But Winston Churchill, a former prime minister of the United Kingdom, once said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” 

    And I will. So excuse me while I jump on my hamster wheel.

    With love,

    Aaron Sousa

    Editor-in-Chief 2022-23