By Fernando Alba
I read an article by the Washington Post back in September on how student journalists across the country are reporting on how the coronavirus is affecting their campuses. A lot of that article resonated with me, but one line stood out the most.
“College newspapers have long been filled with journalists who sometimes think of the school newspaper as their actual major,” Elahe Izaadi wrote.
I joined Cardinal Points my freshman year, and I did that because I wanted to know if journalism was right for me. I was hooked after my first story, and ever since then, I think it’s fair to say that I have majored in Cardinal Points. (Sincere apologies to all my professors.)
After seeing that line in the Washington Post, it was a little reassuring to read that I’m not the only one in this major with their priorities just a little out of whack. But it also confirmed what I’ve felt after spending three years on a college paper and attending a national college media conference a few times — journalism majors are some of the most passionate students you’ll find on a college campus.
And that’s because we all hope to enter a field that offers little pay, little job security and little praise. But we try anyway because we love it. We love how it connects us with our community, how it empowers voices that aren’t always heard and more selfishly, how we get to be in the middle of it all and report.
Being around people like that was a good enough reason to stay on Cardinal Points for as long as I did. But the paper also tapped into something more personal for me. It gave me my confidence, and it gave me my voice.
One thing I’ve held onto since I was a kid is that I love learning. I often compare myself to my past self to see where I’ve grown, where I’ve fallen and where I can trace my next steps. I hated failing though. For every step up I took, it felt like I had to fall 10 first. A lot of insecurity built up with a mentality like that. But the added responsibilities I took on from being a staff writer to the various editor positions I held before becoming editor in chief forced me to embrace failure as a part of the process.
And that’s where Cardinal Points shines the most I’d say. Every week I got the chance to try something new and to learn from the mistakes I made the week before. The culmination of all those weeks and issues since fall 2017 has taken me leaps and bounds from where I started as a freshman. Plenty of students before me and after have done exactly the same thing.
That was another thing about the paper I liked a lot; seeing younger majors join the paper and get attached to it just as I did was a joy to see.
Which is why I’m not worried in the slightest about leaving the paper in the hands of Jess Johnson, Alana Penny and everyone else on the editorial board next semester. I’m excited to see where they take the paper next.
When I started writing this, I started to go through all the memories I had on the paper these last seven semesters, and so I wanted to give thanks to everyone on the paper who helped shape my experience here.
First and foremost, thank you to my first editor, Kavita Singh. When I first started, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but she was there to help every step of the way and was more than understanding. I was not only able to look up to her as a staff writer and then later as an associate as someone who helped me push further, I was also able to look back at her time as EIC as a model for what makes a good editor.
I’d also like to thank Reb Natale for always scaring the sh-t out of me in the office but more importantly, for being someone I could turn to for help, even well after she graduated. Big thanks to Ben Watson, Windsor Burkland, Mataeo Smith and Emma Vallelunga for shaping what Cardinal Points was for me, especially Mataeo and Emma, who joined the paper when I did and stood with me semester after semester.
A huge thank you to Kai Bing Ang, who reluctantly took on the sports editor position when we needed him the most and then flourished in the position. And thank you for taking on the public relations manager position and reinvigorating the paper. He was one of the hardest working editors I had the pleasure of working with.
Thank you to Audrey Lapinski, Sareem Jabbar and Nghi To for their creativity and incredible talent. Without them and other talented artists on staff, the paper would just look absolutely terrible.
And thank you to Jess Johnson and Alana Penny. I really started to appreciate seeing younger journalism majors join the paper and grow when you two joined the staff. You came on with a ton of interest and passion at a time when I was maybe just a tad overworked and overstressed. Seeing you two get better and better only rejuvenated my passion for the paper.
I’m seeing that same passion again as you two get ready to lead the paper next semester. I have no doubt you two will make this paper your own, and it’ll be better off for it.
For anyone else who I might have missed, thank you. All of you helped cement that journalism is something I love and will always be a part of in some way. I’m going to make sure of it.