When I was 20, I packed all my things into three suitcases, got on a plane and flew across the country to a city I’d never been to, to live with people I’d never met. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.
I was making the trip to study journalism at Concordia University in Montreal. I’d always thought I wanted to be a journalist, someone like Martha Gellhorn; I wanted to travel around the world and write about people, and I wanted to make a difference.
I’d set a couple of goals for myself when I started university, one of them being to work at, and write for, the student newspaper. I wrote a few articles for the newspaper over there, called The Concordian, but I soon realized that my romantic notion of being a war correspondent wasn’t the most realistic: I am too much of an introvert and a home-body.
After I made the difficult decision to transfer to SFU, back home in Vancouver, I realized I’d have to start all over again. That’s when I met The Peak.
If I hadn’t gotten on that plane to Montreal, I would still be playing it safe.
During my first couple semesters at SFU, I wrote small features and arts pieces for The Peak, hoping to get experience and meet people. It was intimidating, to say the least: the student newspaper is notorious for being close-knit and, well, rather exclusive. After attending meetings and events, and trying my damndest to write intriguing, original articles, I was elected arts editor. I was in.
After holding this position for nearly two years, I can say it is truly the best job I’ve ever had. It’s been challenging and stressful at times, but more than anything, it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
The people in this office care so much about what they’re putting out each week: they are hard-working, creative, and risk-taking. They push each other to do better, they make you believe that your life-long dream of writing for The New Yorker or The Walrus one day doesn’t have to be a pipe-dream.
Looking back on the several semesters I’ve had the honour of sharing an office with these people, I can’t think of a better way to transition out of life as an undergraduate student. It’s easy to look at things like a winding, complex set of dominoes; this metaphor is generally cheap and simplistic. I can say with confidence, though, that if I hadn’t gotten on that plane to Montreal, I would still be playing it safe. I wouldn’t have been bold enough or persistent enough to interview musicians, to attend events by myself, or to run in the election that got me this job.
I may not want to be the next Christiane Amanpour anymore, but if there’s anything that life at the student newspaper has taught me, it’s that having supportive, creative people around you is the best tonic for drastic, grown-up changes. Here’s to the last editor’s voice I’ll ever write for The Peak. Cheers.