I sat down to write this intro a thousand times. Even though I’ve been preparing myself for this moment all year, I still can’t quite believe we’ve made it here. Yes, we: me, the rest of the Hoot editors, anyone who cares enough to read this, all the besties. I’ve known all year that I had to say goodbye, and still I find myself hesitant to let go.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, Brandeis was my dream school. I liked that it was small, that it catered to the Jewish holidays, that it was in Massachusetts. Everyone back home warned me that I wouldn’t know anyone, but that didn’t bother me. That’s what college was for: a fresh start. Turns out, I was right to be confident, as these last four years have allowed me to be part of an incredible community.
That community goes beyond just my friends. Yes, obviously I love my friends (shoutout to all my roommates; you better all be reading this). But outside of them, I have still found incredible people and opportunities in almost all aspects of my involvement here. Despite just joining this year, the journalism department has welcomed me with open arms. Though my relationship with band is #toxic, I did solidify some of my most cherished friendships in those ensembles. Orientation was probably the craziest week of my life—but an undeniably rewarding experience. Each of these pieces has built me into a stronger person. But there’s one big standout from my time here.
The Hoot was an unexpected blessing.
For about three and a half years, The Hoot’s been like half of my personality (with the other half being Taylor Swift, obviously (Come on, we all knew she had to get mentioned at some point. Just be glad it wasn’t a “Long Live” quote)). I joined The Hoot at the activities fair after a member of e-board ambushed me asking if I was interested in student journalism. Thinking I wanted to go into editing, I said yes and joined their email list. I wish I remembered who brought me in because they unintentionally changed my life forever. Though I swore I was going to never ever, ever write ever, ever, I caved after just four months. Looking back, my first Hoot article is terrible. Just thinking about it makes me cringe. But everyone was so nice; everyone encouraged me to take a bigger role in the paper. And so I did.
Here is where I have to properly thank Celia Young ’20 and Jonah Koslofsky ’20. Celia taught me how to write an article. I use that advice every day, and it’s the same advice I pass down to new generations of The Hoot. Jonah taught me how to write a good article. The foundations were there, but I still needed a lot of help. Jonah was kind enough to pass the Arts section torch to me and the wonderful Aaron LaFauci ’21. Through the Arts section, I found a true love of writing—and yes, editing. There was something magical about seeing a piece grow, something amazing about seeing how a blank Word doc can become something incredible.
Now I’m an Editor-in-Chief, a journalism minor and actively seeking a writing job post graduation.
Being EIC has been a wild ride. This paper has had ups and downs—epic highs and lows of college journalism, if you will—but each success and struggle has made me think a little differently. I now know what it is to lead with compassion and that it is certainly better than leading with fear. I understand what it is to make hard decisions, and, though I’m still working on it, how to handle the aftermath. I learned to stand up for myself and when to pick and choose my battles. I’ve learned a lot about the kind of person I want to be, and for that, I’m nothing but grateful.
I can say with certainty that the freshman year version of myself would be shocked at the senior year. I always dreamed of being EIC—it became a hope in my heart during my first month on this paper—but never in my wildest dreams would I have expected myself to grow like I had. Despite being an English major, I came into Brandeis believing I was, and would always be, a terrible writer. Look at me now.
No senior op is complete without a slew of shoutouts so here we go. Caroline and Stewart, as this year’s arts editors, you guys have made me so proud. Rachel, Lucy and Cyrenity, I’m sure you will carry the arts legacy beautifully. Arts section, best section! Victoria, Thomas and Maddie, I know I’m leaving this paper in good hands. I can’t wait to see what you guys do next year! 3IC, we were a crazy experiment. Cheers to making history.
Now, one last time before I go: HOOT NATION IS THRIVING!