It was like letting out all the anger I never thought I had.
We smashed tables with our feet, bent their legs with our hands and ripped off their hardware with our teeth. (Okay, that last part is a bit extreme, but it wouldn’t have surprised me.)
“Everything has to go,” we were told of our not-so-beloved Aquinian office in the Student Union Building.
We hadn’t used it in years and it showed: the toilet bowl was encrusted in rust, the fridge framed with mould, the wall bubbled from water damage, and we feared asbestos all around.
Plastic tarps covered the vents and a solitary fan sat on the floor of the entryway, straining to circulate the dust-filled air. The mould from the fridge had fouled every piece of upholstered furniture and everything else looked like it was from the 60s.
Nearly 20 computers and monitors were piled in back corners and what seemed like every one of St. Thomas University’s Y2K yearbook were piled three-feet high on a vintage desk.
With the exception of a few valuables, including about seven yearbooks, we did what we were told and got rid of it all.
And damn, it felt good.
Over the years, The Aquinian hasn’t had the best relationship with the SUB – and for good reason too.
Previous AQ staff members, excluding last year’s crew, used the office for drinking, sleeping and living, and have been kicked out at least three times in the past five years.
And so this year we didn’t have much luck when we asked to get the key to the office.
“No way in hell,” we were told.
But after more than five months of meetings and money negotiations, we’re getting it back: The Aquinian has reclaimed its territory.
When I was news editor last year, I visited the office once. It was a dump even after a few of the editors at the time had done some cleaning. I didn’t want to go back.
But there’s something different about this year.
I don’t know if it’s because of the amazing team of editors and writers, or because I’ve achieved what I thought was the unachievable. But mending relationships, owning up to outstanding bills and cleaning out that office were really important to me this year.
I don’t mean to toot our own horn, but I think The Aquinian has come a long way and its importance on campus has become better defined; we want to tell stories that STU students care about or might be interested in. Really.
Though some may disagree, I’d like to think this year’s crew has developed an air of professionalism and quality that every journalist – student or otherwise – should strive for. And maybe reclaiming The Aquinian’s “home base” only highlights that point: We’re paying nearly $6,000 to get back into an office we haven’t used on a regular basis in more than five years.
That has to mean something.
This is my last official column as editor-in-chief of The Aquinian.
You have heard what I’ve never wanted to say and what I probably shouldn’t say. Some of you have liked it, and others have really hated it.
But I’ve never been more satisfied.
After four years with The Aquinian, I’ve learned more than I ever expected about myself as a journalist and an individual.
And now I have to go.
Maybe that’s what all that pent up anger was about when I was breaking the office’s desks with my heel: I don’t want to go.
Hey Harrington, think you’ll have me for another year?