The end of our wild ride

Volume 101's big cheeses melt with nostalgia

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Front Office: Allison, Brice, and James

How many of us can truly say we picked Western as our school of choice for the right reasons â€" that we dedicated all of our time to our studies?

What you realize at the end of your time at Western is your reasons for picking the school differ from those that kept you here.

If you talk to the senior Gazette editors moving on this year, you’ll find they didn’t come to Western for The Gazette, but it wholly changed their university experience.

It is hard to explain to friends and family why we give up our social and academic lives for this paper â€" for them the sacrifices do not seem equal to the rewards.

Any editor will tell you The Gazette has a way of leeching as much time from you as you will give it, but they will also tell you they cannot imagine their life without The Gazette.

It’s not just the life-long friendships we’ve formed or the portfolio we built up over approximately 300 issues, but rather the sense of self we’ve gained: we’ve proven to ourselves we can survive the crucible of deadline and that we are, in fact, good at something.

We can all remember â€" and it has become something of a clichĂ© â€" when we first set foot in the ramshackle office. It took a lot of guts to walk through the door, but that moxie was quickly rewarded; the old guard of Gazette editors took the time to guide us through our first assignments.

Perhaps more than our studies, The Gazette taught us to manage the little time we had, to approach everything we see and read critically and to appreciate the value of old-fashioned hard work.

Naturally, at this time of year and as we publish our final issue of Volume 101, we feel a bit sad. It is a bittersweet feeling, really: so thankful we were lucky enough to work at this newspaper, but saddened we are moving on.

We are very proud of Volume 101. At the beginning of the year we were at a precipice. In the wake of the Spoof Issue, The Gazette was forced to challenge everything it did and, in many ways, re-invent itself. We were stuck between readers who loved the humour of Volume 100 and readers who felt alienated by it. It was extremely hard to determine where the new line between humour and tastelessness was.

This year we focused on what we always did well: covering our community’s stories.

We broke news, like our coverage on the fate of the Womenshealth clinic and the fight for a performance hall for music students; we engaged debate, such as our stories and editorials on Canadian Blood Services’ men-who-have-had-sex-with-men policy on blood and organ donations; we informed students, like our special issue on the provincial election; and we entertained students with fun, colour stories, features and cartoons.

Do we have regrets about this year? Sure, everyone has a few. We probably missed a few stories and made a few mistakes, but that is the nature of the beast â€" you can’t cover it all.

For Volume 101’s successes, we have our editorial staff to thank. It is their hard work that churns out the content to fueling the publication day in, day out.

For those looking for one small reason to justify taking the plunge into room 263 of the University Community Centre, consider the social aspect of The Gazette. While one may assume every Gazette staffer is a drooling, bookish, Warhammer-collecting goober, it is far from the truth.

All different types of people give character to the office. Academic types, meathead jocks, pretentious indie music fans, comic book nerds, the style-conscious and every stereotype in between is represented within these walls.

The point to take away is this: it doesn’t matter what type of person you are (or hope to be), you will find people at The Gazette that fit your niche. Most importantly, do not let a sense of intimidation deter you from taking a chance and contributing your ideas to Canada’s only daily student newspaper.

We promise you that if you embrace your experience at the paper, your intellect, sense of humour and your sobriety (or lack thereof) will be stimulated. With enough time invested in room 263, you will also grow emotionally attached.

We’re all worried about being middle-aged and looking back with regrets. While it is human nature to have some regrets as you age, make sure that getting involved in school â€" be it at the newspaper or otherwise â€" is not one of them.

Thank you for reading, and for making us a part of your year.

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