I should have come to the Chronicle sooner. I feel like I only just arrived, and now I’m a senior, bowing out. Here’s to a year of copyediting, and I’m glad I arrived in the first place.
There is a pressure to express a farewell so tenderly that the weight of the time passed and the importance of lessons learned come to absolute fruition at the very sounding out of “goodbye.” I’m not too invested in the super power of conclusions, and I may not believe in them. Maybe that’s the best part of being an English major – you learn to get to the ending of a book without crying with questions, but with questions all the same. It is time, though, to add up my credits for a degree and my experiences to the sum of one – something neat and reputable.
What I do know is that college has been a hammer of humility, telling me to seek value in my effort. The Chronicle has been another tool of humility for me, too, curbing the stigmas I held about student engagement.
I could also call the stigmas I held before being a U employee my tendency to be – well – a brat. I had a stiff arrogance about anything associated with school. I thought the U would have me on a puppy leash, and I was too cool for school to let that happen.
I spent a lot of unnecessary time skirting any and all walls that had a campus insignia, so afraid of being a cheer-leader for my university. Being a student isn’t about walking in, new, and having prejudices. It’s about being the puppy you really are when you know you have a lot to learn. It’s a lot harder to succeed with the idea that nobody can help you.
The U has so many resources you’re a sucker if you don’t use them. I know, university environment is corny in the context of a brochure or poster on a wall, and being on campus longer than required to makes anyone feel like a pet, but what’s powerful is seeking out the mapped places to see for yourself what they are and then putting work in to make them your own.
Copyediting at the Chronicle has treated me well. I dug my heels in at a place I was supposed to be from the beginning, and now I get to walk away having it as an accolade, but also as a kind of lucky charm in my pocket for the next thing. At its least, it’s been the place where I sat and singed my ankles by a tiny space heater to get through winter. At its best, it’s been about getting rid of the stage fright that happens when hands type out decisions on a keyboard, like truncating a sentence or adding a comma, and you can use that as a ready metaphor for my graduation or the things to come.