I’m going to start this giving you full disclosure. Prepare for some sap.
Every Sunday since deciding — or rather since being ordered by our editor-in-chief — to start this column, I found myself throwing column topics back and forth with our staff. News Editor Mary Norkol once joked that discussing that upcoming week’s Rosca’s Ramblings was like our second staff ed meeting.
There are a lot of ramblings I thought of writing for this last issue. I could’ve written about my passion for film photography in hopes of encouraging anyone reading this to buy a disposable camera and take a stab at it. I could’ve easily written 1,000 words about frozen kefir. I could’ve dedicated an entire column to stories of my parking and driving mishaps.
But instead, I’m going to tell you about the 16 editors I’ve spent at least 350 hours with this past academic year.
To those of you who I shot down when you suggested I write a sappy column because this time of year calls for one, you won. I fought the resistance and lost.
So often, the words for these columns of mine flow right out of me and you read my thoughts on paper. But this time around, it’s not quite as easy. Maybe it’s because part of me doesn’t want this semester to end and some of my favorite people to graduate. But maybe it’s actually because I took the shuttle downtown instead of the train.
The shuttle hinders my creativity.
Joining The Phoenix has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s some of the best experience you’ll get as a journalist in college. You meet all kinds of folks, make connections and get to do some of the wildest things (i.e. visit a virtual reality lounge before it opens or interview your favorite actors).
The best part is the people you meet. I’ve met some of my favorite people working on this staff, and yes, when my possible future children ask what my favorite thing was about my time on student newspapers, it’s the people.
When you’re forced to spend so much time with people, you’re almost forced to be friends. I think we would’ve been friends either way.
Tuesdays — the day we work hardest and lay out the paper — are when the most time is spent together. From early afternoon until sometimes 2 a.m. we’re enclosed in our windowless, but inviting, newsroom. By 10 p.m., the room often smells of fast food — usually McDonald’s, thanks to Sports Editor Nick Schultz. It’s not always the most pleasant late in the night, but our jokes get funnier as our eyes grow weary — something Opinion Editor Reid Willis can attest to every time he tunes in to the A&E corner of the room.
When we had our first production night — back when I was a fetus editor — I knew this year would fly by. Working for a newspaper that prints on a weekly deadline, you quickly base your life around that deadline. That makes the year go by so much quicker, and I didn’t expect to already be here writing this column about how much I love my co-editors.
Before the fall semester officially started, I had already started my job as then-assistant A&E editor. I covered all four days at Lollapalooza with the then-editor, and we made some, uh, minor mishaps with our time management. Editor-in-chief Henry Redman was not shy about yelling at us over the phone, and he still brings it up once in a while, much to my chagrin. Henry, I still think my argument was valid. He’s a true leader — I’ve improved, and he says that since he hasn’t yelled at me since, I really must’ve gotten better.
Opposite Henry in a role of power is Michael McDevitt, our managing editor. Mike, you’re a true pal and the true master of practicing the art of the crossed language. Never change, pal.
Then there’s the rest of the staff. Henry and Mike’s underlings.
Norkol, you’re going to head next year’s underlings, and I can’t wait to run this thing with you. Prepare yourself for a year filled with visits to Whole Foods and the kefir shop. Oh, and lots of chats about Timothée Chalamet. I’m not sorry about it.
Chappell. “Chapstick.” What will you do with 95 Chap-Ice chapsticks? You and your immediate family will be set for the rest of your lives.
Jane, I hope you’ll bring with you those tokens of your administrative admirations to Washington D.C. and Rome next year.
Schultz, if you don’t keep a plush basketball in this room …
Abby, my work wife. You kind human. Even though we sit on opposite sides of the newsroom now, I’ll be hovering over your shoulder all next year waiting to read your pages so we can get out of the newsroom at reasonable hours. And we can have sleepovers.
Emma, you truly are the snack queen. You bring snacks, and you’re a (self-described) snack. John Stamos would definitely agree.
Behm, only you would write three articles for the last issue of your college career. After you got a job at the Sun-Times. After you said your feature about the WLUW founder would be your last. You wrote that weeks ago, and you’ve written more than several writers combined.
Reid, I will say I’ll miss our car conversations. Isn’t the skyline stained with that day’s sunset the best? It makes my day every time.
Almudena, sometimes I wonder if our friendship would’ve gotten off to the rocket-speed start it did if we hadn’t gone to that poetry reading way back when. I’m going to miss your presence so much, sweet human and fearless Society of Professional Journalists leader.
Maggie, you wanted me to write only bad things. The only bad thing I can think of is it’s truly tragic your favorite teas at Argo are seasonal. Of course you’d crave those drinks on the off-season. Say hi to BJ for me.
Ally, my newsroom mom but also one of my favorite creatives. I don’t cook, but I’ve cooked risotto with you more times than I can remember this past year. Let’s keep movie nights alive for a long time to come.
Maddy, you’re a late-comer to The Phoenix staff, but you completed our puzzle of quirkiness. I’m going to forever laugh at our lunch in Chinatown. Trying to eat with chopsticks that morning was a real struggle. Also, “After.”
Alanna, my film photography-loving friend. Thank you for always indulging my photography conversations.
McKeever: Teases. Whole ‘lotta good vibes. And beer. Did I mention beer?
And thank you to Timothée Chalamet for encouraging me with your chiseled jawline and luscious curls from the black-and-white screensaver on my newsroom desktop.
I can’t wait to move you to my new desktop this fall.