The first time I arrived at the door of the Maroon-News office, I made my way to the third floor of the James C. Colgate Student Union and, after breathless and anxiety-ridden contemplation, decided that I was too nervous to enter Room 304. I made my way back down the steps and returned to my dorm room, relieved. I would stick to remote work.
As one of this year’s Editors-in-Chief, I often think back to that moment and laugh. I had been so afraid to see what was behind the door, so terrified of the unexpected, that I had simply walked away.
If only I had known that facing the unfamiliar would prove to be the most rewarding element of my Maroon-News experience. This year, I have encountered countless situations for which I felt unprepared. In August, I walked into the office to discover our entire book- shelf, filled with 150 bound copies of old newspapers, had crashed onto the floor. In October, I was excited that one week’s papers were so popular they flew off the shelves. Hours later, I learned that they weren’t so popular, after all: they’d been stolen following a controversial front page story. And in March, paper layout seemed impossible when one day, our printer—the only one on campus that prints the correct paper size—broke down.
But no matter how unexpected these situations were, we overcame them each time. We rebuilt the bookshelf. We produced some of our best journalism to date. We invented a paperless editing process. And for as many situations that sent my heart through my chest, there were equally as many situations that caught me by pleasant surprise. Like the time I checked Twitter to see my article on the pep band controversy had gone semi-viral. Or the time we learned Ann Curry said “yes” to visiting campus. Or, more simply, the times I received “great issue” messages from friends and alumni.
Writing this column, I reflect back on these moments of uncertainty and surprise with ease, but I remember how stressed, nervous and excited I was at the time each event took place. All I can say is that I got past them. And you can, too. When you feel unprepared for a situation, don’t turn your back and head back down the metaphorical stairs. Open the door, and head on in. You may just end up in charge of the place.
By Mara Stein, Editor-in-Chief