During the fall of my sophomore year, my personal life was fraught. I didn’t have many friends, I was struggling with my mental health and classes were hard. One night, I was walking to my professor’s evening office hours when I got the call: my grandpa’s cancer had metastasized to his brain and was likely inoperable and therefore terminal. I sat on a bench on academic row and sobbed for a little while before pulling myself together and going to my professor’s office in the basement of Seegers to talk to her about my upcoming paper.
When I entered the antechamber to her office, coincidentally The Weekly’s office, I was surrounded by laughter and a glow of camaraderie that couldn’t quite penetrate my shield of sadness, but warmed me nonetheless. I spent a couple of minutes speaking to Sara Vigneri, explaining my situation, and she suggested I spend some time with the students of The Weekly so I didn’t have to be alone during such a difficult time. I sat down at the table and left an hour or so later feeling lighter than I had in weeks, with an invitation to come back the next week.
So I came back, again and again, writing stories occasionally, but mostly just helping others refine their writing and deciding where commas went. I stayed later and later each night, until I was declared an editorial assistant and was designated to stay until the paper was finished at some early hour of Wednesday morning. Eventually, at the end of my sophomore year (due to some editorial reshuffling and confusion), I was offered the position of Editor-in-Chief. I spent the summer of 2020 learning how to administrate our website and working on a couple of high-impact stories about racism and departmental changes with writers between my summer classes and attending protests myself.
In the fall, I led our editorial board for the first couple of issues, before I had to step down due to newly diagnosed health issues, leaving The Weekly in the eminently capable hands of Cydney Wilson. I took the year off from school as well, working at a brewery and deeply missing my educational and editorial pursuits. When I returned for my senior year, I was offered the position of Managing Editor, as Cydney knew how much it would mean to me to return to the paper.
This year has been one of the healthiest and happiest of my life. Working with our editorial board and individual writers on our news product every Tuesday has been a huge part of that. Knowing I have a safe space every week to come and joke and fight about comma placement and grammar has buoyed my heart and soul and allowed me to blossom as a leader and as a person. I have met some of the smartest and kindest people I know through The Weekly. Serving as its Editor-in-Chief this last semester has allowed me to lead them in making a product I am truly proud of. Though our first production night was a little rough, with names misspelled and commas gone astray, we have become a well-oiled machine over the past 12 weeks, and now there’s very little we couldn’t achieve. We’ve planned a formal, created three new initiatives, and made memories to last a lifetime. Though I may have joined the paper by just showing up sad one night, it has meant more to me in the past years than anyone could know. Though I’m sad to relinquish my green leather seat in The Weekly office, I hope some sad current or future Muhlenberg student will find the amazing community we’ve built just as comforting as I did that first night, and use that feeling to build something even greater.