I cannot think of a term that has been more entrenched in all of my routines for the past year than the word adaptation. Adapting has been crucial to not only my routines, but to those of my coworkers and peers and professors.
Leaving the Beacon seems like a milestone in my academic and professional career as a graduating undergrad student. Working alongside Alexandra DeMarco has been my favorite part of my final year here, as we have had to problem solve and adjust to some difficult situations.
On the topic of flexibility, being flexible is sometimes the only thing that you can count on. I know the whole pandemic part of 2020 and 2021 is always the source of blame for so many struggles, yet everyone has had to adjust to changing patterns in everyday life. With lacking physical interactions with people, it has affected everyone’s work ethics and motivation, and I am so proud of my editorial team and larger Beacon staff for continuing to contribute throughout this academic year because I know how hard it has been to simply survive.
My team has visibly struggled but has continued to do their jobs. Meeting on Zoom can be so discouraging and detrimental to overall engagement, especially when every individual is reduced to a black rectangle on a screen. That is why as a manager, I try to be understanding, and I want others to be passionate about their work without losing their enthusiasm for it.
Since beginning as a copy editor during my freshman year, I was always confused about how a unit made up of solely student journalists can function on its own without “adult guidance” — but growing up and maturing is a part of understanding teamwork. Communicating with each other and maintaining our responsibilities is how any team can come together and produce content and grow into workplace educators.
Sometimes throughout my various positions at the Beacon, I was completely clueless, having no idea how to do some of my tasks. But the skill I became best at is burying my pride and just asking people how to do things. I was new to the world of journalism, and everything I have learned about media production is from my experience working in the Office of Student Media.
In the future, I want to be more intentional than simply adapting and changing my behavior to benefit my goals is invaluable to achieving personal success. Moving on and continuing my education after graduation, there will be times when I know I won’t succeed.
The legacy I want to leave behind at the Beacon and my parting message to my team is that making mistakes is absolutely essential to any process, whether it be a small task like writing a story or a larger project like designing a complete paper. Making mistakes is sometimes painful and something I beat myself up about all of the time, but I want to work on working through my mistakes, rather than letting disappointment in myself defeat my motivation.
In addition to working past discouragement, the biggest task I want the Beacon to focus on in the future is working hard to include more perspectives. Media is so dominated by white, wealthy people that propagate the status quo. It is time to include and uplift the voices of people of color and any individuals facing discrimination to give them access to spreading information and gain credibility among the larger, privileged community. This is my largest regret in my career with the Beacon, and creating connections with different organizations that do uplift these voices of marginalized communities is a great start to reaching the goal. Reading through the archives of Beacon papers, this organization has a long-rooted tradition for lacking diversity, and while breaching difficult traditions can be done, I am hopeful for change in the future.
Ending this letter, I would like to give one piece of unsolicited advice in the form of a quote I found on a fortune cookie once. I keep the message of this fortune in mind when I am trying to be compassionate because some of the most important interpretations or judgements can be made from reading between the lines of what is already made clear.
“The most important part of communication is to listen to what is not being said.” - A fortune cookie