Over the years I have had the opportunity to read many Exponent alums’ farewells. Some whimsical others bittersweet, but nearly all of them have shared one similarity — dread for Wednesday nights.
Two years ago when I was a writer, I read these sentiments and was surprised. I was eager to step into my newly-appointed editor role and after one night of learning the ropes, I was excited for the late nights to come. After some thinking, I chalked my enthusiasm up to being naive and thought soon I too would dread these late nights. The following year I endured 28 production nights, and each week eagerly looked forward to the next. After what I considered to be a great year, I read the staff’s farewells. All of them shared the same, however small it may have been, disdain for production nights and the sleep-deprivation and craziness that accompanied them. My thoughts were the same. I loved each Wednesday and couldn’t imagine ever growing tired of spending a night with my friends working on something I was deeply proud of. At the conclusion of this year, as editor-in-chief, my feelings haven’t changed. Each week I still looked forward to the late nights ahead. After all, who doesn’t love spending time with their friends, cracking jokes, having an excuse to eat wildly unhealthy food (I think I will eventually pay for the amount of all the greasy fast food I downed, but for now, I still feel young and limber), working together to overcome challenges and hastily typing away at Box texts that I hope at least earned a few chuckles outside of the staff (My personal favorite was sexiest U.S. presidents in case you were wondering).
All jokes aside, being involved with the Exponent has been one of my most proud achievements. My time on the third floor of the SUB (Yes, there is a third floor) has allowed me to hone my writing craft, learn the ins-and-outs of a newspaper, cultivate my interviewing skills, understand campus policies and operations, grow connections inside and outside of the university, and gain leadership experience. Sure, all these things look great on a resume, but I think the most valuable things gained don’t exactly fit on a piece of paper. I still remember Catapalooza my sophomore year. Julia Connelley, a name some of you may recognize, called out to me and my friend Parker (who would later become sports editor), asking us to fill out applications. I listened to her pitch and could not imagine myself fitting in at a newspaper. I thought to myself, I am a mechanical engineer who two years earlier was skipping high school English classes four days a week, no way am I fit for this. After a few weeks of thought, I reluctantly submitted an application — It must not have been too bad of a pitch after all. After a few weeks of writing I never looked back. Working for the school’s newspaper has pushed me out of my comfort zone, broadened my perspective and most importantly, given me some of my best friends. After all, the Exponent office is not just an office, it is a community and the community spreads far beyond its walls.
At risk of this becoming even longer, I feel inclined to share my stories of friendship and give recognition to the people who helped make my time at the newspaper so special. First, I want to thank the Publications Board. The amount of work and dedication you have shown to the newspaper over the years has been incredible, and it does not go unnoticed. Next, I want to thank our professional advisor, Sage. Sage hopped into this circus of a year halfway through and has grown my knowledge of the newspaper and shown dedication throughout all of it. I also want to thank Bill Lamberty, MSU Athletics Assistant AD. I remember sheepishly knocking on his office door to ask for athlete interviews and he was always excited to talk to me and help the Exponent any way he could.
I also want to shout out this year’s staff. I’ll start with all of the seniors. Brendan, you have been an awesome managing editor and a great friend. There’s nothing like heading to grab a few beers with you to talk about the Exponent on a Friday afternoon! Zach, the way you sell ads and market the newspaper is incredible, and I have no doubt you will be successful moving forward! Audrey, your ability to layout the newspaper, never ceases to amaze me, and I should thank you for putting up with me looking over your shoulder all year — I know I deserved to be shoed away at least a couple of times! I’ll always be a fan of your design and am excited to see what you do next! Tomas, thank you for continuing to draw wacky illustrations and hopping on this podcast adventure! I always enjoy your goofy sense of humor, after all, you are the talent!
Shelbi, thanks for being our social media guru all year! You really helped grow this newspaper and did great with whatever we decided to throw at you! I know you’ll continue to be great at your new job! Dylan I’ve enjoyed having you as Culture Editor, but even more as a friend. It has been great to be roommates and I look forward to many more surf sessions and Dylan dance moves in the years to come! Parker, you have been one of my best friends since high school, my rooommate, and I will no doubt be talking, texting, or Twitter DMing you sometime after I finish this farewell today. These past eight years of hanging with you have been great, and I am still so impressed with how you took on Sports Editor this year! I am looking forward to more rounds of golf, camping, and having a few too many beers in the near future!
For those of you taking over the Exponent in the year to come, I want to thank you and give you a bit of advice. Quincy, I have had the opportunity to see you grow as a writer and editor over the past two years and it has been great! I know you’re going to continue to thrive, sing in the office and be a part of more ongoing D&D games than is comprehensible! Gabe, you have done an amazing job stepping into the photo director role this year! Thanks for putting the Box texts on your back! I know you are going to do great next year! Lastly, Grace. I am very excited for you to lead this newspaper next year! You have been such a wonderful addition to this staff and your goofiness and ability to bring people together is something I will always admire! I have no doubt that the Exponent will be in good hands moving forward. For those of you sticking around, cherish the times you have in the office. Yes, I know sometimes it gets late and the occasional mouth harp may get annoying (Dylan, Brendan, you know what I am talking about), but there will be a point in time where you will wish you could have one more night with the Exponent crew! Continue to build a community and put your mark on the Exponent. It’s a unique opportunity and one to take advantage of. Most importantly, don’t forget to have some fun along the way, and on the occasion break open an Otter Pop for me!
In the next few days I will transition from a proud Exponent staff member to a proud alum and faithful reader. As I wrap up my post as editor-in-chief I will miss you all, but am looking forward to the life experiences to come.