Much of my freshman year was spent behind the counter of a certain Mediterranean restaurant in the basement of Gallagher. We were never especially busy, so I was always looking for ways to pass the time between mopping floors, deep-frying falafel patties and shaving pieces of gyro off a spigot.
Some days, I would bring homework; I was a pre-med student back then and would pass the time with flashcards featuring the Latinate names of different kinds of worms.
Other days, I would chat up the colorful, rotating cast of my co-workers, one of whom always reminded me to “work hard, not smart” and another who always carried an unread Agatha Christie novel in his back pocket.
Some days, I would just zone out in the grand tradition of the “profound” college student, wondering about where my career at Xavier might take me.
But most days, I would lean against the counter and thumb through the week’s Newswire. It seemed so big back then — a gateway into the Xavier community that showcased the best and brightest of what students had to offer. I have always loved writing and longed to be a part of the Newswire team. But never — not even for a second — did I think that I would someday have my name on the editors’ page, much less on a by-line as the incoming editor-in-chief. I traded my job’s ratty uniform snapback for a Newsies cap, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
To say that working for the Newswire these last two years has been a great pleasure is an understatement. While our schedule might sound crazy to some, I’ve never regretted being up late in our windowless closet of an office. Even if I’m not making my half-hour commute home until 2 a.m., Tuesdays have become my favorite day of the week, and that’s entirely because of my little Newswire family.
As clichéd as it is of me, I can’t say enough about the incredible people I’ve met both as a staff writer and especially as a campus news editor. And because I apparently run this paper now, I feel free to take some precious space to mention a few of them specifically.
First, my fellow returning staff: to Hollis, who helped me be brave enough to go up to the Newswire booth on that sweltering August day two years ago and has joined me on this crazy ride from the beginning; to Taylor, whose guidance and mindfulness have helped me as both a writer and a scholar; to Meredith, my partner in campus news crime, for her humor and drive that always encourage me to be better.
Mostly, I need to thank our seniors: Tim for his hugs and good spirit; Patrick for the memes above my desk and for making me laugh until I cry; John for the baseball lessons and my little brother status; Yoshi for his endless pictures of our staff and especially his friendship.
But most of all, I have to thank Katherine and Sabrina, whose leadership and tireless work have transformed this publication into something of which we can all be proud.
You two set out to make the Newswire credible and engaging as both a news source and a forum for student debate and expression, and I think I can speak for all of the staff (both old and new)
in saying that you succeeded. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities you have given me and assure you that Taylor and I won’t let you down.
To Katherine, thank you for your patience and warmth. Thank you also for your work with the Athenaeum and for entrusting me with so wonderful a publication. Working with you, both with the Athenaeum and the Newswire, has been a highlight of my college career.
And finally, I thank our fearless leader, Sabrina. From debates about the point of Chicago Style to our late-night lifechats, your professionalism, insight, example and (most importantly) friendship have molded me into a better journalist, leader and person. I would have added an exclamation point in there to express to you the sincerity of my gratitude for all you have done for me and for the Newswire, but I know you better than that. Thanks for everything, chief.
And to my new staff: I know we have a lot of work ahead of us and some big shoes to fill. But I can honestly say that, even on the worst days, this work is worth it. Together, we have the skills and the drive to continue to make this paper even better, and I have every confidence in what we can do.
So much of what shapes us in these four short years lives outside the classroom. For me, it has lived in the Newswire office that has become a home for me, figuratively and, as a commuter student looking for a place to study on campus, literally. Our real education happens when we step aside from our studies and work for something greater than ourselves.
With that in mind, I speak now directly to our readers: seek out work that matters to you. I could have stayed in that stall in the basement of Gallagher wondering what this work might be like. But instead, I took a chance on something that I thought might bring me fulfillment, and I’ve never looked back.
Whatever your class status, be it graduating senior or prospective freshman, be on the lookout for opportunities to expand your horizons and try something new. You just might be glad that you did.
Andrew Koch is the editor-in-chief of the Newswire for the 2014-15 academic year. He is a junior English and advertising major from Cincinnati, Ohio.