Opinions, Column

Two Years in the Newspaper Business Without Writing a Word

After two years on the executive board of a newspaper, you would probably assume that I had written something by now. You would probably guess that I had provided some kind of journalistic contribution as, you know, people on newspapers tend to do. Contrary to that, however, I have never written a single piece for The Heights.

And yet, I enjoy writing. More specifically, I enjoy good writing. I think it’s really interesting how my words on this screen or on paper can fill your head, how they can capture your attention and make you think about something. I like that good writing has an element of freedom to it—I can use em dashes if they help me get a point across, and I can use a colloquial tone like this one if it makes for a better read. Finally, I love that writing, if it really is good, can make you feel something. A truly impactful work can move you, can make you angry, sad, joyful—or anything in between.

So, as The Heights is an organization filled to the brim with good writing, that may be why I joined it in the first place. Maybe it’s the reason why I went to that first information session so long ago, and why I ultimately said “Yeah, I’m gonna do this whole newspaper thing.” The writer in me felt drawn to such a strong and appealing outlet.

Month after month, though, I often found myself wondering why I wasn’t doing any writing. I had found the perfect platform to do so, but with nothing to show for it. In fact, I had even joined the business side of The Heights, which is about as far from writing as a member can get.

Nevertheless, as my tenure draws to a close, I don’t have any sense of regret. Strangely, I don’t have an ounce of compunction when I look back on my time here. What I’ve come to realize, then, even if it took me two and a half years, is that I didn’t need to write for The Heights. Rather, I was already getting everything that I loved from the organization itself.

Much like good writing, this community constantly filled the thoughts in my head. Anyone who knows me is well aware that it has always been on my mind—and I am thankful for the wonderful family and friends who have so kindly put up with that. As the general manager and the head of financial operations, the role fully captured my attention and relentlessly made me think. How does one grow an antiquated product in an industry that continues to digitize and evolve? It’s a fascinating question, and the short answer is innovation coupled with a lot of hard work. Not just by me, but by the best business team that I could have asked for and the many individuals who consistently make that product so great.

Similarly, The Heights has given me a level of freedom unlike anything else. Leading a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is a responsibility that not many 19-year-olds get to have. Beyond that, though, it offered an amorphous counterpart to my often structured and defined life. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been coloring inside of lines, completing assignments exactly as they’re instructed, and generally doing things how I am told. But with this organization, I had a blank canvas and unbelievably talented peers to help me fill it in. Being able to lead and collaborate with some of the most amazing people at Boston College, in exactly the ways that we wanted, was one of the most impactful opportunities that I have ever had.

Lastly, like any piece of good writing, The Heights has made me feel just about every emotion imaginable. It has made me uncharacteristically angry as things go wrong and plans go awry. It has made me exceptionally sad as each year passes and older members move on—just as I will have to do very soon. The majority of the time, however, this organization has made me joyful beyond belief. From Maine trips to hibachi dinners to going on stage with Fetty Wap, I can’t help but smile as I think about my time here and all of the friends that I have made. For too many reasons to count, saying “I’m gonna do this newspaper thing” was truly the best decision that I’ve made at BC.

But if I have gotten so much out of The Heights without writing, you may wonder why I’m doing it now. Part of it is to come full circle, to end with the thing that got me here in the first place. Another part of it is to showcase one unique experience within this organization. I am just one example of countless others, and if you’d like to donate to our Centennial Campaign, in honor of our 100 years in existence, you can help fuel those incredible experiences for the next century as well.

Primarily, though, it is to celebrate that which is at the core of The Heights: a ton of thinking and hard work, the voice and platform to act freely, and a whole lot of passion and love. These are clearly shown through good writing, one of the things that we do best here, but they are plain to see in every single aspect of our organization. For that, as the kid who went two years without writing a single thing, I am infinitely grateful for my time with The Heights.

Featured Graphic by Ally Mozeliak / Graphics Editor

December 13, 2018