I’ve been procrastinating writing this piece. You see, when I first joined The Brandeis Hoot I remember being told about the legacy that is senior ops. It’s a tradition that our little paper established for itself where, at the end of the academic year, each senior writes a piece reflecting on their time here at the university. I’m not going to lie, I for sure thought about what I would write at the end of my four years then. Yet now, when presented with the opportunity to write mine I’m at a sort of loss for words.
You see the past few weeks I have felt caught living in having two lives—one trying to maintain what I’ve achieved over the last four years and the other trying to prepare for the next four. Which as you could imagine is a little stress-inducing. Then as I’m dealing with my little Hannah Montana moment, I also have to process what I’m leaving behind as I go to start my new chapter. AND on top of this everyone is telling you to enjoy it while it lasts. No sweat.
I think I let the two halves of me take away from my last few weeks of class because I was wishing time away so it wouldn’t be so stressful anymore. It wasn’t until yesterday when I was updating my whiteboard calendar that it hit. It hit as I wrote out the words last production night and last chance meet and last day of instruction. Just like that in the span of 14 days, everything I’ve come to love would be ending. Obviously, I knew these dates were coming, but seeing them all condensed onto one calendar made it sink in. That’s when it dawned on me that, “Crap, I can no longer procrastinate this piece.”
There is a part of me that feels ready for this ending. My mom used to tell me that when you got comfortable somewhere it was time to move on because that place had served its purpose and taught you the skills you needed to know. It’s safe to say that I feel comfortable at Brandeis. I feel I’ve learned my lessons from my mistakes as well as my achievements. I’ve had the opportunity to lead this paper and my team and it feels like the circle is complete. I know the clubs and groups I’ve led will be fine without me there because they have the most capable people in the wings ready to take over.
But it’s still sad, in a way, to watch the thing you’ve cared for for the past four years no longer need you. God, is this how the helicopter parents in the Brandeis Parents Facebook group feel? And I guess moreover, I’m scared to start my next circle—excited and thrilled too—but scared. Scared of not having all my friends living in the same mile-and-a-half radius. Scared of moving out. Scared of the world, but taking it on anyway.
I spent a lot of time this past week going through The Hoot archives. Since the Department of Student Engagement (DSE) is disbanding the Brandeis Media Coalition (BMC) which has been around for over 20 years and evicting us, Gravity and Laurel Moon from our space, we have to relocate on campus. DSE is effectively kicking us out of our room with no plan in place for where our stuff will go. It’s been a devastating situation because I fear for the preservation of our paper and archives. I’m also saddened to know that people won’t be able to enjoy the BMC room as I have on Thursday nights at 2 a.m. as you struggle with InDesign. That room has been a haven for me and to know it won’t be that for others is crushing.
In spite of it being a truly awful situation, it has led us to kindness from other groups on campus who we can lean on for support including the Brandeis Archives and Student Union—which is support we do not take for granted. It has also given us time to reflect back through our personal archives as a paper. I sifted through hundreds of copies of The Hoot as we got ready to pack up our space into small boxes. I found copies of photos that the founding editors who left The Justice to form The Hoot brought over with them. I found tape recorders and little cassette tapes that predate iPhones that our writers used to use to record events. What once was someone’s Hoot experience is now a glimpse into the past for me.
When looking through these relics of our history, I realized I would too become part of this archive. I will be the first member of The Hoot to write 300 articles, I will have been the one to record most of the university’s policies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as we tightened and eased restrictions. I now join the ranks of many editors before me who somehow made it by even when things looked bad.
The Hoot has taught me how to make the best of being dealt the worst hand. We have had to fight for our space on campus to be recognized as a legitimate publication without having the title of the university’s official newspaper. We’ve been looked down on, we’ve been left out and we’ve been told to leave our space. But we don’t back down. We publish weekly. We publish damn good articles weekly for that matter. We serve our community. We are the underdogs. And this paper will persist. We are too damn stubborn for literally anything else.
So to end this op here is a thank you. A thank you to the staff members of The Hoot who made a stubborn girl more stubborn. A thank you to every person who ever sent a nasty email who I responded to with “I hope you are doing well and staying healthy!” A thank you to Sabrina for being my first friend on this paper. A thank you to the girl who approached The Hoot table at orientation her first year even though she had never written for a paper before. A thank you to the next generation, who I know will give this campus hell.