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Goodbye to the Carillon

Standing in front of a bunch of papers. Awesome./ Arthur Ward
Standing in front of a bunch of papers. Awesome./ Arthur Ward

Reflecting on two years at the editor’s helm

Usually, these editor good-bye letters start with some trite cliché, which I’ll avoid.

I started my journey with the Carillon over three years ago as a contributor writing mainly political op-eds. I loved seeing my name in print. Never did I think, although I certainly wanted to, that I would become the editor of Regina’s second oldest newspaper, now writing his goodbye during his final issue.

It didn’t happen quite like I thought it would. After a year of writing editorials, I eventually applied for the position of op-ed editor, a job I only ended up holding for one issue. That summer two years ago a decisive moment came for me as the Carillon needed an editor-in-chief. At a staff meeting, without an editor, it essentially came down to who would raise their hand to take on the interim position. After a moment’s hesitation (I often wonder how much I would have regretted a prolonged hesitation), I was the only one who volunteered.

It’s a decision I’ll never regret. Although it’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s also the most rewarding. Journalistically, educationally, artistically and personally, I wouldn’t trade this editorship for anything in the world.

The majority of the issues of the Carillon produced included sleepless nights by many staff members, like this last one I’ll ever be a part of. To illustrate, wake up early Monday morning, class, work, study, class again, and then work at the paper (not to mention all the work throughout the week) until the wee hours of the morning. This editorial is being written Tuesday morning after 24 hours straight without a wink of sleep. The longest production “night” (a misnomer in this case) was 40 hours straight (and our wizard behind the keys, production manager Kyle Leitch, was there every single production night to avert all disasters that came our way). All of this with a full course load.

Don’t interpret this as complaining but as the opposite. I’ve loved every minute of this job. Who knew that the most rewarding part of university would be dedicating every waking minute (most are) of your day to something that can be ameliorated through personal effort? Indeed, I consider this job a second degree that helped pay for my real one. I’ve learned, firstly and most importantly, from the staff around me, I’ve learned basic photography, a great understanding of journalism, how to write investigative stories, editing, sports writing, and I could literally go on filling this whole column with. Indeed, my first big story as editor-in-chief in 2015 was how our President Vianne Timmons and Provost Tom Chase almost being subjected to a vote of non-confidence by the university council, being saved by one vote. What better way for a political science student to learn about politics then when a massive power struggle unfolds right in front of his eyes, and I get to report on it?

I’ve interviewed my favourite author, Joseph Boyden, former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, Canadian musician Jadea Kelly, and have written a plethora of articles on every subject under the sun.

So that’s why I find it confusing that more students don’t participate in extra-curricular at the university. You have nothing to lose besides gaining great friends, work experience (the least valuable of it all), knowledge, and some of most fun you’ll ever have while changing the university and the world around you for the better (everyone in their own small way). Also, whatever organization or method you choose to expend your energy to – there are a lot, like this paper, UR Pride, URSU, RPIRG, the Women’s Centre and many more – will not only benefit from your help, but you will benefit from theirs.

There’s so much underutilized opportunity at this university, it’s astounding. Opportunity here literally waits for those who want it bad enough. Although countless energy drinks have surely done irreparable damage to my heart, I think dedicating myself and my boundless energy to empowering the fourth estate brought positive effects for the students, campus, city and, most of all, the contributors and staff.

I don’t want to make it seem like I did all the work – certainly not. All the people to thank are too numerous here; take a look at our current masthead and then imagine all those who came before. They all know who they are. I want to thank all the people who stuck out this wild ride with me.

Yet, the fact that somebody else gets to ride this roller coaster after me makes me happier than I am with my time here. I wish all students took full advantage of everything university offers them like I did. Not only would they be better because of it, but so would our society.

Expect big things from your student newspaper next year. With this, I sign off.

About Michael Chmielewski

I am a 4th political science student who loves reading, writing, studying languages, reporting, playing music (metal, if you got it), conversation, amongst many other eclectic interests. Proud to be in my second year as Editor-in-Chief of the Carillon, and even more proud of the amazing staff that I work with. Festina Lente.