I’ve become the parody of student journo and this is My Story
The nostalgia you develop in the midst of finishing your undergraduate degree is very real—let me tell you. I keep running my hands along the sides of railings in Old Vic and pausing in the middle of the stairs at Sid Smith, thinking about how this will be the last of this, or the last of that. This is one of those moments; the last issue of The Strand’s 59th volume. I’m writing this with one hand pressed firmly on the iMac monitor in the office. My apologies to Volume 60 for the teardrops on the wireless keyboard.
My involvement on campus evolved over the last four years, but The Strand has threaded its way through it all. I applied to be an Editorial Assistant in my first year, this somewhat younger, and much keener, version of myself trying to decide which path my undergrad would take. I remember thinking about moulding myself into Rory Gilmore if I got the position—when I didn’t, my melodrama kicked in and I decided that, maybe, student journalism just wasn’t for me.
While my ability to turn very minor rejections into catastrophes still lingers, I managed to lick my first-year wounds and weasel my way back in here. After contributing photos and joke articles to The Strand in my second year, former EIC Anthony Burton pushed me to write my first (of many) articles about Drake last year. With a bit of encouragement from former EIC and Strand Mom, Holly McKenzie-Sutter, I decided to run for EIC. This year and this position have taught me more than I could have imagined; leading me to learn more about media ethics, a hell of a lot about InDesign, and working on deadlines that make me grey around the eyes. I have also found myself back on Twitter in order to verbally cope with the aforementioned sleep schedule.
The Strand is one of many storied institutions at UofT that allow for students to take their first steps in media. Student journalism at UofT can be hard to navigate, particularly when the St. George campus doesn’t offer a direct degree in the field. What we lack in a Subject POSt, we make up for in campus life. Campus is saturated with active publications and journals looking for writers, and course offerings at different colleges try to satiate the student journo in need.
While a cut and dry journalism degree can’t be found at UTSG, cobbling together your own through hands-on experiences is definitely just as rewarding. Being a part of a community of writers and editors on a student publication allows you to watch journalism work. If you want to write, get involved where you can—there is so much opportunity out there and so many of you with hot takes to be tended to.
Had you told my 18-year old self that I would have had a hand in producing twelve issues of The Strand by the end of undergrad, I definitely would have immediately asked about 30 questions as to what the hell happened in second and third year to even make it back to Room 153. I wouldn’t change my experience here for the world, regardless of the amount of Domino’s I consumed in the last eight months or how many hours I logged staring at typefaces. To Anthony and Holly, thank you for being mentors to me in your own ways—I never would have believed in myself if you hadn’t first. Most importantly, to Erik—thank you for balancing the budget and my over-excitability. It’s been incredible to learn alongside you with a lot of laughter and very few editorial squabbles. Molly and Elena, I’m excited to see where you and the incoming staff take Volume 60. With your stamina, preparedness, and killer dynamic, I know you’ll fill the Blundstones and Chelsea boots Erik and I have left behind more than perfectly. (Molly, please don’t Bunz the couches in the office. Please.)
Working with this year’s masthead has been undeniably important to my own development as a writer and editor. Being able to see everyone experiment and grow in their positions not only inspired me to push myself harder this year, but made me a very proud Volume 59 Strand Mom. I cannot express how knowing and working with every single one of you has been amazing; your unyielding passion and drive has shown me the importance of student journalism. Continue to get yours—you are the future of journalism, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.