In high school, I was an arts kid. Theater, orchestra, choir — you name it, I did it. I also took classes in poetry and did a lot of that. To me, journalism seemed like another creative outlet that I hadn’t explored yet, and like any eager college freshman, I was itching to join new clubs the second I stepped foot on campus.
So, no, I don’t have any crazy reason for why I joined The News-Letter, besides having always loved writing and knowing that I wanted to try something new. But I do know exactly why I stayed.
Growing up in small-town Pennsylvania, I was so unbelievably sheltered from what was happening in the world. Being a part of The News-Letter truly opened my eyes to the experiences of others and the injustices of the world. A breakthrough moment for me was when I interviewed a student in the LGBTQA community. She explained to me how she came to terms with being asexual, her struggles with telling friends and family, and the times she had felt excluded or misunderstood because of her identity.
I was astounded by her trust and confidence in me even though I was only a freshman reporter. I learned so much from those two hours spent on Brody Terrace, listening to her story. In that moment I realized how truly precious a story could be and how special a journalist’s job is.
At Hopkins, where everyone is stressed and everyone has a lot on their plate and everyone is busy with things to do, it is so easy to forget the individual nature of struggle. How it feels and how it is so, so personal. The News-Letter has reminded me over and over again about how important it is to care about every person’s unique perspective and experience. Listening to others and handing them the microphone has made me a better person.
More than that, The News-Letter has given me a community — people who make me laugh until my sides hurt and who care deeply about each other, Baltimore and social justice. We go to protests and talks and explore the city together. We send each other interesting articles and discuss how these ideas push us to think harder, write better and hold our newspaper to a higher standard for the Hopkins and Baltimore community. We eat gross amounts of food, make fun of each other to no end and lean on each other when we need to cry.
And every Wednesday night, fueled by caffeine and our belief that good journalism matters, we stay up late in our cozy little office called the Gatehouse and make a paper.
When I think of my happy place in college, it’s 7 p.m. during our weekly staff meeting, curled up on one of the too-soft couches in the Gatehouse and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow editors. We’re laughing, talking about the week ahead and reminiscing about the weekend behind us. Joining The News-Letter was one of the best decisions I’ve made at Hopkins. It could be one of yours, too.