It’s a curious thing to prepare to write our last column. For four years, The Echo has dominated a significant portion of our lives. For this entire year, our lives have rotated around the print schedule.
Monday meetings. Tuesday edit. Wednesday edit. Thursday produce. Friday, Saturday write more stories. Rinse and repeat.
And now, with this column, we’ll be saying goodbye to start new chapters in our lives.
Over four years we have written a combined 150 articles for The Echo alone, edited over 2,000 articles (conservatively), produced 23 combined editions as co-editors in chief this year and managed a team of over 40 students.
Over four years in and out of The Echo, we’ve also grown from an editor/writer working relationship to a co-editor in chief duo and dear friends.
And now we’ll try, in only 350 words a piece, to describe the whole experience.
In a recent trip to the Archives for my poetry class, I was struck by a phrase in a 1942 edition of The Echo:
“Don’t hurry off.”
The column urged students in their last moments of the year to take everything in and enjoy it all. This was also the reminder I needed at that very moment.
With pressing deadlines and quick turnarounds, “hurry” is a word frequently associated with newspaper work.
Sometimes the job of co-editor in chief requires upwards of 20 hours per week rushing between meetings, rounds of edits and interviews. Pile on a semester’s worth of classes, internships and on-campus commitments — hurrying off is practically in a student-editor’s job description.
But this simple phrase in an 80-year-old Echo reminded me that a balance needs to be struck between hurry and rest: “Don’t hurry.”
Don’t hurry through Monday Echo team meetings where a Halloween-themed pot of candy is eagerly passed around and editors linger to chat about weird campus traditions.
Don’t hurry through rounds of edits on stories written with incredible care and thoughtfulness by a talented team of student journalists.
Don’t hurry through cups of chai sipped while planning this final edition with your co-editor-turned-good-friend.
Don’t hurry through production nights sizzling with deadline-energy and soundtracked by a Spotify playlist ranging from Billy Joel to “The Home Depot Theme.”
Don’t hurry off.
With only a few more days until I walk the stage and say goodbye to Taylor — and The Echo — it’s hard to not want to cross the final moments off a 1,460-day long calendar and hurry on to the next chapter of life.
But I know it’ll be a bittersweet goodbye when this last edition hits stands and May 21 has come and gone.
At the chance of sounding cliche (a trope we desperately try to avoid in news writing), these four years at The Echo and the relationships I’ve built because of it truly made my Taylor experience what it was. And that’s a fact I can rest in for the rest of my life.
Happy. Crappy. Creepy.
For four years, these three things have been the icebreaker for Thursday dinners with The Echo staff. Started by features editor Grace Hooley (‘19), it’s become our fairly all-encompassing weekly check-in — something fun, something bad and something weird.
So like all the weeks before this, here we go.
Happy: There’s only six days until graduation.
Looking at these four years, I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer and as a person. The articles I’ve written and edited act as mile markers in a greater personal journey — and it’s a joy to mark the end with our staff’s successes at the ICPA, SPJ and EPA journalism awards.
Crappy: There’s just six days until graduation.
While many people boast of Taylor’s community, for me, much of that community was found and centered in a weekly eight-page print edition. I first arrived on campus for Echo training week as a freshman, and I’ll leave picking up a copy of this edition.
Creepy: How are there six days until graduation?
It feels like yesterday Chrysa Keenon and Gabby Carlson (’19) were explaining to me what the “awk walk” or “Broho” were. Now, I’m at the other end of things, preparing to say goodbye to much that has become dear to my heart.
How do I say goodbye to people I’ve known for years, growing as writers and individuals together? How do I say goodbye to iced chai Mondays at 3 p.m., a sacred time to catch up with Ellie, Tarah and Katie before our regular Echo meetings? How do I say goodbye to the walk between Chick-fil-A and the Rupp Mac lab on Thursday nights, giggling with the editors about somebody’s funny “creepy” from dinner check-ins?
It seems like just when I start to get my head on my shoulders, I’m embarking on an entirely new adventure.
Even so, I know I’m not entering into this next chapter alone. While it holds seemingly infinite unknowns, this I know confidently: I will carry the invaluable lessons, dear friendships and treasured memories I’ve made for a lifetime. And for that, I’m forever grateful.
With love and iced chai, your 2021-2022 Echo co-editors in chief