Senior Retrospective: Outgoing Editor-in-Chief writes goodbye letter to The Misc

Image courtesy of Nina Ajemian '23.

Dear The Miscellany News,

I’ve written multiple drafts of this retrospective, but none of them have felt quite right. At first, I thought it was because I hadn’t yet found the perfect angle or the best hook or the exact words I wanted to use to sum up my time here. But now I realize that the real reason I wasn’t fully happy with what I had written is because as soon as I was, I would actually be done. It would be over. This is my last article. And that’s really hard.

Evidently, like with most things in my life, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make everything perfect. But no goodbye is perfect, by virtue of it signifying an end. Ends are crumbly and messy and happy and sad. I’m learning to be okay with that. It’s really hard.

I have also realized that no matter how different the set-ups of these drafts were, all roads led back to you, The Miscellany News.

So I have returned to the very first draft of this retrospective: a letter. I’ve always loved letters. There’s something so personal about signing your name next to your own words, saying, “These are mine. And now they’re yours.”

When I was little, I hand wrote thank-you notes, crayon in small hand, to family and friends upon receiving a gift. Over the years, I’ve penned tearful letters to boys who have hurt or disappointed me—more for me than them and mostly never delivered. I’ve saved birthday cards from my best friends, notes from when I was on Lathrop House Team and a piece of pink paper with messages from other Misc staff members this spring. There’s a note addressed to me on the wall of the Editor-in-Chief office, and I just left my own note to our paper’s future. 

Somehow, though, I’ve never written a letter to you, The Misc, the heart of it all. 

I’d like to think of ours as a reciprocal relationship. You gave me community, my next chapter at grad school and dinner invites to PB’s house. I gave you my free time and my class time and my sleep time and occasionally my just-about-to-go-out-because-it’s-Thursday-night-but-suddenly-there’s-a-crisis time. 

In all honesty, though, you have given me far more than I could ever return. I don’t think I really knew myself before you. You helped me find a purpose. You made me realize that I’m good at getting things done and leading a group of people with comically different schedules and making sure that every Thursday morning, come hell or high water, 800 copies of our beautiful paper, with articles we are proud of, are fresh off the press and sitting on the loading docks, ready to be read.

You, The Misc, shaped my writing voice. Publishing an article for every section of the paper (I said I was going to do it, and I did!) has allowed me to explore different styles of storytelling and relaying information. What I’ve learned, though, is that all types have something in common for me. There’s this feeling I get when writing, especially something intimate like a letter, of needing to capture a very specific energy. A singular moment in time. 

Writing is also one of the few things that has always come easily to me. Yes, I rewrite and edit and delete and take breaks and add maybe unnecessary commas. It is in this process, though, that I figure out exactly what I want to say and how I’m going to say it. There is nothing quite like writing yourself to your final destination. I’m proud of where we’ve gotten.

You also shaped my actual voice. Never in a million years would my first-year self believe that my senior-year self would be leading meetings of 20 people every week. Like, not just occasionally talking in the meetings, but steering the conversation and interviewing over 30 new/returning staff members and being the person to make the final call on decisions. She would not believe that her future self would become the person other staff members looked to for guidance, for answers to style guide questions, for her opinion on anything and everything related to the production of this paper.

(Actually, most people would also not believe this, as I am very much a reserved person and take a little time to warm up—until we become friends, and then oh wow can I talk.)

Writing this letter has made me realize that I’ve grown tremendously and learned so much over these past four years on staff. I’ve learned how important being part of a team with a shared mission is to me. I’ve learned that outdated plugins can bring down an entire website following an unasked-for web hosting company migration. I’ve learned what a web hosting company migration is. I’ve learned how to say hello and goodbye and yes and no. I’ve learned how to trust myself a little bit more.

You could safely assume that I know a lot of words, as a writer/almost college graduate/Editor-in-Chief. But I will never have enough words to describe how much you, The Miscellany News, have meant to me. I don’t think anyone not on staff would ever really get it anyways. You are my baby—my bundle of joy and also the reason I feel like I have aged five years in the past one.

And much like raising a child, it takes a village. So this is also a letter to the people on the paper, because, really, The Misc is all of us. I love you guys, and am so grateful I got to graduate as your Editor—your Misc Momager, if you will.

This is also a letter to my friends, who might hate you (sorry!) at this point because of how often I talk about you—I don’t blame them and love them anyways :) It’s for my parents, for getting me through the bad news and being my biggest fans for the good. It’s for my brother, for allowing me to read my one and only Humor article to him over FaceTime to make sure it was funny and for being the coolest person I know. It’s for Papa, my grandfather. I wouldn’t be here, writing this, without your love and support.

And lastly, like anything I’ve ever written and will ever write, this is ultimately a letter to myself. The first time I walked into the weirdly lit, weirdly located and weirdly messy Misc office, I knew I wanted my name up on that wall. And now it is. 

This retrospective may not be perfect, but it’s done. Sometimes that’s all you can do. It’s time to let go now. It’s happy, and it’s sad. It’s messy, and it’s okay. So I think all that’s left to say now is: Thank you, thank you, thank you.



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