I was horizontal on St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne, Australia last semester when I decided to check out The Argus website for the first time in four months. I justified much of my time abroad as a much-needed break from the endlessly busy and somewhat stressful life that I have led at Wesleyan over the last four years. Don’t get me wrong, there is something I’m going to miss about my constantly frantic, ceaselessly chaotic, and undoubtedly fun experience at Wesleyan. Nonetheless, I did love my time away from Middletown, Connecticut—especially after an intense junior spring.
Being an Editor-in-Chief is never an easy position to assume: articles must be written and edited with quality and respect; a twice-weekly publication quota necessitates a significant amount of energy and time; and leading a newspaper, much like leading any club, can come with its fair share of stressors. As an Editor-in-Chief—or EIC—it’s easy to get swept up in the sheer work of it all. Although being an EIC was a phenomenal experience, it took me until my last production night in the role to finally gain some perspective and begin to reflect. While I look back with extreme gratitude, thankfulness, and pride, hindsight is indeed 20/20.
It was on St. Kilda Beach where I gained this understanding. Until that point, I needed a bit of a break from The Argus, but always felt the urge to check up on the paper. Yes, semi-regular calls with then-EIC Hallie Sternberg ’23 did suffice to an extent. However, the separation was real.
I happily read an article on a Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) vote on something (the details of which remain inconsequential in my head) and audibly sighed with relief. When you work so hard on something, as I did with The Argus, it is hard to let it go, and even harder for you to deem it as on par with where it was when you were still involved. While I have never been a fan of WSA articles—they often felt too jargony and technical for me—I was reassured that The Argus’ standards, quality, and positionality did not wane. I was finally able to relax and move forward, feeling a sense of closure. It was almost as if I were in a long-term, committed relationship with a newspaper.
But that’s the thing. I often tell my dad that The Argus is like an extra class without the academic credit. You pour so much of your time and energy into it and get rewarded with a tangible article printed in a paper rather than a box checked off of on a graduation requirement or a tic towards your GPA. Letting go of that work, stress, and enjoyment can be difficult, but it is a part of moving on. Reading that WSA article in Australia taught me that The Argus, much like everything else I’ve been involved in, is going to move on and move forward whether or not I’m on campus. I’ve done my part for The Argus, and it feels selfish to do any more. While it may be tough, I did my best to ensure that the oldest biweekly college publication in the country stays the oldest, and those who continue to work for it remain passionate and eager to participate in student journalism.
As I prepare to graduate, I want to thank The Argus and those who have come before, during, and after me within the publication. Not only have my writing quality, newspaper knowledge, time management, and leadership skills improved, but I have gained a cohort alongside whom I’ve grown and evolved as a person. Although it is cheesy, and sometimes The Argus does indeed receive some flack from the University community, I am so thankful for my time at the paper and I wouldn’t trade it for any other club. I have no regrets.
As I conclude this final letter to The Argus, I wanted to thank the News Editors of the Fall 2019 semester, notably Serena Chow ’21 (who was my initial point of contact for the section) and Claire Isenegger ’21 for providing a safe and welcoming Argus community for both myself and the student body at large. I want to thank all of the current seniors who have assumed some role in The Argus over the past four years for creating such a supportive and energized environment. I want to thank all of the prior EICs that have assumed the role during my time at The Argus for teaching me what quality leadership looks like. I want to thank Hannah Docter-Loeb ’22 for being a journalistic role model of sorts and an even better friend, and Emma Smith ’22 for broadening my love of journalism and being a beyond-kind presence in the publication. I want to thank Hallie Sternberg for being my oldest friend in The Argus and supporting me, Argus-related or not, for four years. I owe so much to Hallie and could not thank her enough. I want to thank the current EICs, Rachel Wachman ’24 and Andrew Lu ’23, this semester’s Managing Editor Tiah Shepherd ’23, any and all section editors or staff writers who have worked for The Argus throughout the year. I want to wish all of the future Argus leaders good luck in preserving and furthering such an amazing and impactful space on campus. Finally, I would like to thank Jem Shin ’23, who was EIC with me last spring. I could not have gotten through the semester without Jem and I am so appreciative of all of the work they poured in to make The Argus such a successful paper.
Oliver Cope ’23