Honestly, I had never written a single article for the Voice before this year. I had barely even read five issues consecutively. But, being the good Gov student that I am, I was an avid reader of the Times. I discussed “news” in class almost every day. And by “discussed,” I mean I mostly listened to my peers talk about their perspectives and would later write about my own. Writing was my medium of choice when it came to expressing myself. Rather than fumbling through almost-coherent statements during class, I have always preferred writing in order to be clear and concise with my thoughts. So, when I saw a flyer advertising Section Editor positions for the Voice, I pieced this together and figured I’d go for it. It was going to be my senior year after all; what better time to throw yourself into an organization you’ve had no previous affiliation with whatsoever?
Clearly, I said something right in my (written) application. That, or no one else applied. Either way, I’m writing this editorial and trying to reflect upon my brief experience with the Voice. After I was accepted accepted as a section editor, our first meeting took place in the spring to prepare for the upcoming fall. At this point, most of us were unsure what role we would be assuming for the upcoming year. Aparna Gopalan, the incoming editor-in-chief, had big plans for revamping the paper. She began the meeting talking about said big plan: to change copy-editing processes, meeting times, layout, page numbers, word counts, whole sections, you name it. I tried to keep up, not familiar at all with anything newspaper-production related. She then told us what sections we would be in charge of. Hoping to get the Opinions section, I was designated a News editor. Figures, given my background, I suppose.
That fall, I worked with Peter Burdge as my co-editor. We would exchange pitches every Monday before the Writers’ Meetings. I remember scrambling to come up with pitches that would be interesting to our writers, asking friends whether they had heard of any recent scandals on campus. I can still recall my anxiety writing the pitches on the board and even worse, actually pitching them. There were never many takers. I understood it; writing an article is a big commitment, and if you don’t know anything about the topic, then it’s an even more daunting task. I probably wouldn’t have volunteered for my pitches either.
However, being uninvolved and unwilling to accept new challenges is not what I am trying to endorse here. One of the most important things that the Voice has taught me is that putting your efforts into something uncomfortable and unfamiliar can be the most rewarding. I remember the first time I volunteered (for one of my own pitches.) The thrill and anxiety of publishing an article that some could potentially find controversial was a sensation entirely new to me. My first big article was on a congressional debate that Conn hosted. I basically wrote about how it was a big disappointment. I had all of my friends read it to see if they would be offended by what I wrote. When they said no, I sent it in.
Not quite in the clear yet, the other editors had more than a few issues with it. At first, I was discouraged, and just wanted to wash my hands of the whole ordeal. But then, I considered their comments and realized that their edits would really make my article a piece about which I could be confident. The article ended up being published on the front page, and I obviously sent a copy home to my parents, who were ecstatic to hear my efforts weren’t only being put toward drinking beer and flipping cups.
Too often at Conn I have found myself going through the motions. Doing what is comfortable and familiar. Being a good student, but never too involved. However, working on the Voice has made me wish that I had been more involved. Being involved takes more guts, more initiative, for sure. But it has been worth getting to know people I wouldn’t have otherwise and exposing myself to new perspectives. Working for the Voice has been a great opportunity that has allowed me to immerse myself in current events relevant to campus, the local community and beyond. It also hasn’t hurt my resume. My experience was short and sweet but full of meaning. In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone I was able to work with this year and the handful of friends (Asaf & Kelso) who never failed to read every issue!
-Allie Marculitis, News Editor