The last Gauntlet issue of the school year is when the outgoing editor-in-chief is supposed to cry his or her heart out or, rather, do one final hoorah. Usually, I’m not big on sentiment, but, in order to keep with tradition, brace yourselves for an utter spewing of my heart. This is a rare moment of insight into me, someone you have probably never heard of and probably don’t care about in the slightest. Regardless, only a year so incredible warrants such a catharsis.
I look back at my first day on the job about a year ago when my shiny, new nameplate arrived and it feels like yesterday. People are keen on the adage about time flying by when you’re having fun. Well, I would have to politely disagree with this popular phrase. Time just flies by, no matter what kind of time you’re having. This became utterly clear to me during a drunken night at the Drum and Monkey trying to unwind after a particularly stressful week of editing the same stories five-times over. I was regaling to a new-found friend about how I was recently single, when a good friend of mine sensitively informed me that I was “just single — not recently.” Not all work nights ended in a drunken stupor, although many of them did, but another thing that struck me about my friend’s kind words is what a deep and lasting impact people have.
The incredible friends that I’ve made this year have helped shape who I am. The Gauntlet’s editorial board fought literary wars with — and sometimes against — each other, but, in the end, we grew incredibly close.
Over the year I got another strong dose of the antidote that combats apathy and keeps my curiosity in overdrive, which is the one thing that university actually teaches you: that you don’t know shit. But this is not to say that you should stop shoveling through the shit, because eventully you will get to the good stuff, the good people and the good experiences.
It might sound cliché, but the most important thing I’ve learned this last year is to never take myself too seriously. After a huge kick in the butt in Toronto at the Canadian University Press conference, I began to relax a little — at the strip club over a few too many drinks — and I really began to enjoy my job.
Initially I was too preoccupied with trying to do everything rather than taking a step back to look at the bigger picture. It was through letting my guard down that I was able to walk into rooms with Students’ Union candidates who clearly disliked me; learn from spelling mistakes rather than dwell on them; openly admit distaste for the new Dinos logo; continue to work through sweat, blood and tears to work on the Gauntlet’s reputation despite negative feedback; and, most importantly, form incredible relationships.
Through the good times and bad, we’ve made our mark. And in the process, we’ve also made many memories.
So, as I near the end of my degree, my advice to you is this: put your fingers in all the pies, even if they’re pumpkin. Try everything you can, get involved and make new friends. I swear — it’s worth it.
From the wise words of Michael Grondin, whose Wu-Tang name is Arrogant Menace, “I exist,” and you should go out and exist a little too.