Unlike many of my colleagues and friends, I didn’t start university as a journalist. I didn’t show up to my first story meeting in first year with a notebook full of ideas and plans to one day be managing editor. Like most of the good things in my life, I stumbled into The Aquinian almost by accident.
I was dragged to the clubs and activities fair by my friend and spent most of my time trying desperately not to make eye contact with anyone in case they asked me if I wanted to join their club. It was my second year and I was quite content keeping my head down and focusing on my schoolwork.
I picked up flyers when I was sure the leader was busy talking to someone else. I always thought I’d make an excellent thief with my ability to slip something into my pocket with no one knowing. But Jerry-Faye Flatt, former managing editor from 2019-20, noticed me.
She told me the time and the place of The Aquinian story meeting and invited me to show up to see what I thought.
That Friday, I wasn’t planning on going, but something told me to be brave. In truth, I am a shy person by nature. I don’t like change, meeting new people or opening myself up to criticism. When I showed up to my first meeting with The Aquinian, I was terrified. I sat next to the only person in the room I knew well and I practiced every word in my head before I said it aloud. After that first meeting, I didn’t take a story, but I did go back every week that I could.
I started writing for Jasmine Gidney in the features section. When I got my first story back, it was ripped to shreds. I felt frustrated, but instead of quitting, I decided I wanted to get better.
At the end of my second year, I applied for an editing position, which I didn’t receive but in hindsight, I’m happy I didn’t because in August, when Diana and Jasmine announced a social media and web editor role, I knew it was the perfect fit for me.
Over the next few months, I worked beside an incredible team of young journalists and thinkers. Together, we broke news, wrote about injustices and confronted the ever-present difficulties of COVID-19 as journalists and students.
The Aquinian became not just a publication, but a support system where we helped each other through online school and celebrated one another’s victories. Far away from family and cut off from many social interactions, The Aquinian fostered mentorship and individual growth.
In February when the team attended the NASH student journalism conference hosted by Canadian University Press and won two awards, the whole team celebrated together.
I am incredibly grateful to Diana Chávez, my editor-in-chief, and to Jasmine, my managing editor, for leading us through this incredible journey. On a personal note, I am also grateful for their support, guidance and for teaching me how to be a badass woman.
When I sat down to write this letter, I felt the same fear I did at my first story meeting. Fear of the unknown, fear of making mistakes and fear that I won’t live up to my predecessors. They are leaving some big shoes to fill.
But as I step up to take my place, underneath the fear and the worry is something bigger, excitement. I am excited to use my position to lift up voices that otherwise wouldn’t have a platform. I am excited to continue to create and publish written, visual and audio content. Most of all I am excited to work beside EIC Hannah Rudderham and the rest of the team.
I hope to see you at our first story meeting in the fall, because who knows, one day you could be writing this letter too.
Managing Editor 2021-2022