Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 23, 2024
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COURTESY OF MICHELLE LIMPE

Limpe discusses the home the Gatehouse has provided to her over the past four years.

Believe it or not, one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve had to make at Hopkins was to a building — the Gatehouse to be exact. The grayish-green building, worn down yet exquisite in its architecture, that remains unknown to most of Hopkins represents much more than a corner of campus: it houses the institution of The News-Letter, an organization that I have dedicated my entire Hopkins career to. 

While I entered Hopkins with the goal of writing for The News-Letter, I never imagined that I would find a home and so much fulfillment from my work here. 

Most may view their time at Hopkins in terms of years — freshman, sophomore, junior and senior — but I often think of it in terms of the positions I’ve held within the paper. 

My first semester at Hopkins was a blur marked by bouts of homesickness, the excitement of making friends and joining clubs, and the stress of figuring out how to live independently. Despite all the uncertainties of freshman year, the one constant I had was making the trek from dance practice at the (once-standing) Mattin Center to the (still standing) Gatehouse for the 6:30 p.m. News budget meeting every Monday. 

I still recall the frenzy that enveloped the building every time I walked inside, with editors rushing back and forth and conversation spilling all across the rooms — a scene which was only more chaotic when I went in to finish articles on Wednesday print nights. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic turned our whole world upside down and moved the remainder of my freshman spring indoors, attending the weekly News meetings (on Zoom this time) remained on my schedule.

For the remainder of my time at Hopkins, 6:30 p.m. on Mondays was always set aside for The News-Letter, no matter what. 

After working as a staff writer throughout my freshman year, I was hesitant to run for the position of News and Features Editor for the following year. With plans to take physics, organic chemistry and public health classes as a sophomore, I thought that the workload of an editor would be too much on my plate. Moreover, I still recalled the shame I felt toward my nervousness to interview sources for my first article, a skill that I consciously developed as I became a regular writer. 

With the encouragement of my News editors then, I decided to run, and the timing worked out because I happened to be on the News and Features team during the peak of COVID-19. Though I was taking classes halfway across the world from campus, covering the never-ending series of broadcast emails from the administration and the various protests and town halls kept me connected to Hopkins and the greater Baltimore community.

That year solidified my commitment to the paper, and I returned to the Gatehouse during my junior year as a Managing Editor and soon served as one of the Editors-in-Chief this past senior year. With each position, the time I dedicated to the paper only grew and bumped my Monday News-Letter meetings earlier. Throughout all the stress and commitments that came with running a paper, I loved learning about the different sections and aspects of the production process and was so honored to have had the opportunity to lead its vision coming back from the pandemic.

Throughout our year as Editors-in-Chief, my co-Chief Molly Gahagen and I always thought of the paper as our baby. We have been filled with so much pride and joy to see our goals and projects come to fruition this past year through the work of our talented staff, especially without a journalism department at Hopkins. 

From my time with The News-Letter, I found an additional support system through the like-minded, passionate people who fill the Gatehouse and form its very core. While the public only sees the finished product of our labor on our website and in the print newspapers around campus, I saw the paper come alive through the process behind our publication. The late-night conversations at the office during print weeks, the inside jokes full of newspaper tea and the establishment of our alumni network are some of the many memories that will stay with me long after the pages immortalizing our work begin to turn yellow. 

I also found my voice here, both from leading the staff and writing various articles. The paper allowed me to develop and experiment with my writing, testing out different voices and refining my technique in style and structure. Not only did it allow me to develop my skills further in preparation for my career, but, most of all, I found my purpose at Hopkins in documenting our institution’s history and bringing light to the issues of those without a platform. 

There will always be news to cover and articles to publish, and I’m proud to have done my part to serve the Hopkins community through The News-Letter and to have played a role in the publication’s 127-year history. I used to think that my legacy at Hopkins would lie within my bylines and the writings left behind on the Gatehouse walls. However, I now realize that my legacy will lie within the paper itself and how it has touched and will continue to touch and influence the Hopkins community.

My time at The News-Letter will always be a special and central part of my Hopkins experience, preparing me well to tackle the next adventures of adulthood. As I walk past the Gatehouse for the last time before leaving Baltimore for good, the memories and emotions automatically wash over me. No words can describe how much I’ll miss the corner of Hopkins that we made our own. Though I’ll now have other things to fill my Monday evenings, I leave knowing that next year’s staff are equipped to uphold the lasting traditions at the Gatehouse, and I look forward to joining the alumni network and seeing the paper grow. 


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