If I had to choose one word to typify the first semester of college, it would be overwhelming. Sure, it’s many other things, too—exciting, exhilarating, full of opportunity. Yet between finding your people in a completely new social environment and hunkering down in the library (or whatever place you pretend to be productive), time for extracurricular activities might seem elusive until you hit your stride and truly settle into college life. In the midst of the wonderful whirlwind that is Vassar Year One, it’s understandable if joining clubs and seeking out leadership positions—those mystical beasts so beloved by job interviewers—is not your top priority. That’s why I’m here to change your mind.
I started out with The Miscellany News in my first semester, as a Copy Staffer. This meant that every Tuesday at 5:15 p.m., I would climb the College Center stairs to the cozy hole-in-the-wall known as the Misc Office and spend 45 minutes switching between the Style Guide and whatever section the head Copy Editor assigned me, fussing over hyphens and em dashes and making sure no Oxford commas slipped by. Sometimes my shift would run long and I would be late meeting my new friends for dinner, but I didn’t try to explain because it was difficult to do so without sounding like a total nerd. Soon, I added Design Staffer to my plate and found myself wrestling with Adobe software every Monday as I laid out a section of the paper under the experienced eye of my Design Editor. No matter how dorky I felt with my face pressed close to the computer screen to ensure that the headline I was placing was not a millimeter off-kilter, I couldn’t deny how much I loved it. The Misc gave structure to my life in a semester that was overwhelmingly busy, stressful, confusing and challenging, and I began to look forward to the weekly sessions in the office where I could breathe and finally feel like my life was under my own control.
Fast-forward through a year as co–Design Editor, a semester abroad blogging and reporting for the paper from afar and a semester as Senior Editor, and I’m writing to you—the Class of 2022—as Editor-in-Chief.
The Editorial Board and I have prepared this special Welcome Issue for you for a couple of reasons. First, as an introduction to Vassar’s campus culture and community, and second, in the hopes that a few of you may join our ranks. Yes, working for the paper is difficult, time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming—just like the rest of college. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. On a personal level, working for the Misc has taught me more about dedication and leadership—and above all, more about myself—than any other experience during my time at college. Beyond that, there’s something special about being part of a long history. The Misc is Vassar’s only weekly newspaper, circulating to students, administrators, faculty and the Poughkeepsie community since 1866. Wednesday nights when school is in session, you can pick up a copy of the paper in your dorm, the College Center, the Deece or the Bridge, or catch up on the latest issue online at MiscellanyNews.org.
Our six sections—News, Features, Opinions, Humor, Arts and Sports—always welcome new reporters and columnists, and since Vassar offers no official journalism major, contributing an article or a review might be the ideal way to scratch your cub reporter itch. If writing isn’t your schtick, consider joining the ranks of our staff in the Design, Copy, Online, Outreach/Social Media or Photography departments. Don’t forget to follow our Instagram @themiscnews, and tune into our Twitter @miscellanynews for breaking news and live coverage of Vassar Student Association meetings. You can also find us circling up every Sunday at 9 p.m. in the Rose Parlor beginning September 16 for Paper Critique, where we always welcome new faces. Finally, you can reach us by email any time of the day or night at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck to each of you as you embark on the crazy and amazing journey that is Vassar. Wherever your four years take you, the Misc will be waiting every Wednesday night.