Column by Taylor Soule
Now that I color-coded my calendar (twice), cleaned my room and baked bread, I can’t deny the inevitable any longer: When I leave The Times-Delphic newsroom on Wednesday at 5 p.m., I’m not coming back. And I’m finally realizing how much I’ll leave behind.
When I walked into the TD office as a freshman, probably wearing some too-big Drake T-shirt (I take pride in the fact that I never succumbed to the lanyard trend), I had no idea it would turn into a three-year commitment, er, addiction. At the beginning of my TD career, I worked for the moment of seeing my byline in the paper. As time passed, though, my motivation evolved. I began working for the readers, a motivation that felt particularly real during the 2014 Relays Edition.
With our Relays Edition audience expanding to include students, parents, alumni, college and high school athletes, coaches and Olympians (talk about pressure), I strived to provide a range of content fit for all of the above. I can only hope I feel as passionate about the readers — whoever they may be — throughout my career.
All year, I’ve gazed longingly at one section of the TD office, a cluster of bricks on the wall inscribed with past editors’ names. I’ve said, “I can’t wait to write on my brick!” for months, expecting the act of scrawling my name on the wall (in Taylor-trademark pink Sharpie, obviously) to magically cap the past three years. But now that I sit here in my office — tearing up, I admit — I realize the beauty of my TD experience is in the chaos.
The fact that I can’t find a way to neatly cap my time at the paper illustrates its powerful impact on my life. I’ve learned to be a leader. I’ve learned how to balance fun and productivity in the workplace. I’ve learned that no matter how much editing I do, I’ll probably fail to delete one dreaded exclamation point.
Ultimately, I found a place I feel completely at home. The more I think about it, that feeling transcends the TD office. Though I’m leaving my Meredith Hall haven, I feel incredibly at home in the media world. There’s something comforting in the knowledge that every day, I get the opportunity to tell people’s stories.
That homey feeling hardly means I can kick back and relax. Though I feel comfortable among the TD staff (based purely on the amount of punctuation dancing I do in the office), they push me to be a better leader and journalist — to get that extra source, to stay up that extra hour writing, to keep being a total hard-ass when I copy edit.
The energy and passion the editors exhibit motivates me to never get too comfortable. Plus, they politely listen even when I tell the same stories over and over, and they don’t banish me when I start shrieking about my hatred of semicolons (again).
I’ve never had trouble expressing myself through language, and as an English major, I spend my time making my invisible thinking visible through writing. Right now, though, I’m struggling to capture my TD experience. So, I think I’ll wrap up this column with a quick epiphany.
When I claim my brick on Wednesday at 5 p.m., when I document the last three years of my life in pink Sharpie, I have no expectations. I’m not concerned about closure, whatever that means. The fact that the names of my crazy, wonderful TD staff will surround mine is enough.
Soule is a junior news-Internet and writing double major and can be reached at email@example.com