Like potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and most of life’s greatest treasures, my involvement with the school newspaper started as an accident.
My first contact with the Concordiensis [a name I could barely pronounce until this year] came when a friend from home introduced me to her cousin Tess, one of the Concordy e-board members, during my freshman year.
From that introduction, Tess eagerly put me on the email list and sent me my first article assignment.
Little did I know that this happenstance introduction to the newspaper, along with the spontaneous “hey, why not?“ sort of ideology that accompanied it, would be two defining elements of my Union experience.
This is not to say my relationship with the Concordy was necessarily love at first sight.
Quite the contrary, writing and editing for the newspaper has at times been laborious, anger-inducing and ethically-challenging.
But in this roller coaster ride of Red Bull-infused editing sessions and fury-enflamed response articles, I’ve made incredible friends, met some of my most courageous role models and learned a tremendous amount, not only about myself, but about the power of writing.
One of the most seemingly obvious observations is how you, as a writer and an editor, have the tremendous capacity to piss people off.
People truly care about things on this campus and in the world, and take great sensitivity in how these issues are presented. I think that’s awesome.
I learned this firsthand my sophomore year, when I wrote a viral opinions piece, primarily targeted at the Theatre department, criticizing the lack of faculty and administrative support for student-run initiatives, mainly the incredible achievements of the Mountebanks Theatre Club.
As one would expect, this did not bode well with the Theatre Department, and its most ardent supporters.
As such, an enflamed debate was born; my cell phone blew up with both supportive and condemning texts, phone calls and emails. But in the end, there was no “winner”; there was only respectful, yet passionate, disagreement.
Such zealous banter arose again this past fall in an infamous and widely read debate on the value of Greek Life.
It is in such debates that we understand how disagreement can be one of the most impactful tools we can initiate as students, especially when considering how our generation is criticized for its ignorance and apathy.
But only recently have I realized that more powerful than our ability to piss people off is our ability to inspire them—more powerful than disagreement is agreement.
This eye-opening lesson came during the winter of my junior year, when I had just returned from my term in Greece and had been wiling off of a dramatic perspective-shift.
I decided to write [or “rant”] about such a shift in an Opinions article called “The Productivity Trap,” in which I discussed the power of living slowly and with no structured plan.
I never anticipated the tremendous support and empathy that such an article would generate.
But it is this support that directed the objective of my post as an Opinions section co-editor: to inspire articles that would inspire.
Luckily, the incredibly thoughtful, idealistic and benevolent nature of Union students made this task realistic; from Liz Devine ‘15’s call to re-examine our use of YikYak, to Danielle MacGregor ‘15’s account of women’s beauty, it has been a pleasure to witness such inspiration.
Earlier this year, my dear friend and role model Matt Wu ‘17 wrote a beckoning call to write for the paper, commenting on the apathy of our generation.
Yet as I leave the paper off to him and Erin Wade ‘16, two of the most hardworking, idealistic and innovative souls I know, and as I hand the opinions post to Liv Estes ‘17 and Kim Bolduc ‘17, I have no doubts the Concordy will continue to inspire this campus and embody everything except apathy.
Thank you Concordy for four great years, you were the best accident that I could have had.