By Renata D’Aliesio
I had just arrived home from a day of first-year classes when an Eyeopener editor called to tell me I had won the sports editor’s job. In response, I blurted out such eloquent expressions as, “Oh my God!” and “Wow!”
I sat on my parent’s couch for the next hour with a goofy grin on my face. I couldn’t believe it. A group of Eyeopener editors and volunteers had chosen me and a handful of others to lead the paper for a year.
Since then, I’ve landed jobs at The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Hamilton Spectator and The London Free Press. None of them, though, has come close to matching my experience at The Eyeopener.
This issue, the one you’re holding in your hands, is my 99th. It’s also my last as an editor.
Over the years, I’ve spent too many sleepless nights in the paper’s stifling office in the basement of Jorgenson Hall. I rarely was alone, though.
With me were other editors just as dedicated to the paper and to improving its quality. We’ve let many things fall by the wayside in pursuit of this passion. Our grades. Our social lives. Our friends. Our health. Our pockets.
Depending on the week, our hourly wage ranges from $5 to 94 cents. We work in a newsroom designed for a staff a quarter of the size. We sleep on couches found by the side of the road.
Some of us brush our teeth in the washroom just past The Computer Shop. One of use even showers at the RAC, even though he’s never worked out there. And I keep a spare change of clothes in my desk, right next to my bag of hairspray, body spritz and dental floss.
While doing all this, we often wonder whether it’s worth it. Whether you, dear reader, notice the strides we’ve made over the past three years, evolving from the school’s joke paper to the school’s paper of record.
My doubts are erased every Wednesday morning when I see a student, professor or administrator pick up our paper.
Not many outside The Eyeopener understand our passion for it. Some think all we do is “hang out.” Others think we should have abandoned the paper the moment we got our first “real” journalism job.
Those people don’t understand what passion is. Or they’ve forgotten what it’s like to care so much about something that you’d give up the world for it.
We at The Eyeopener aren’t the only ones who understand passion. Those engineering students who spend most of their spare time building race cars understand it. Those fashion students who work into the morning on their designs understand it. Those professors who send e-mails to their students in the middle of the night understand it.
What I’m finding hard to understand is how I’m going to cope without The Eyeopener next semester.
I’m not leaving by choice. I’m leaving because in March I have to spend six weeks at The Ryersonian for class credit.
And while I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy my time there, it won’t be the same.
What I do understand is that I’m leaving the paper in good hands — passionate hands.
All I can do now is hope that when I get a bit nostalgic about the paper and feel like reliving old times, there’ll be toothpaste in a drawer and a spot on the couch for me.