By Nicole Schmidt
Trying to describe the strange magic of The Eyeopener to someone who’s never experienced it is complicated, but these are the last words I’ll ever write for these pages, so now seems like the best time to try:
About five years ago, my first-year self hesitantly walked up the stairs of the SCC for the first time. I wanted to write stories—maybe even change the world.
When I got to the top, I turned around and marched right back down. The glass door of the office seemed like some sort of portal for “real journalists,” which I was not. I was flooded with the kind of anxiety that makes your stomach feel like it’s been wrung out to dry and convinces you that the people nearby can hear your heartbeat.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that office would eventually become my second home—a place where I’d get my first byline, learn how to be a good reporter and occasionally, sleep under a desk. It would be the backdrop for epic battles involving Johnny Depp cardboard cutouts and an ideal space to find relics of the past—a Fleshlight and a few condoms—hidden away in the ceiling. It would teach me about integrity, about how to distinguish a lie from the truth, and it would help me realize that I can’t change the world because bad people will always exist in it. Most importantly, it would be the place where I’d meet some of my best friends.
This office has always had a way of bringing together a group of strangers who probably wouldn’t find each other out in the world, and it forces them to become a dysfunctional family. I stuck around for five years—nearly a quarter of my life—because it was the place where I felt like I fit in most. These ambitious weirdos cared about the same things I did, and we were all more than willing to sell our souls to The Eye for a few measly dollars and some free beer.
None of us seemed to mind the chaotic deadlines or the inhumane hours because every week, we came together into our dingy, dimly lit office and made a newspaper.
Now that I’m leaving (as one of those “real journalists” I wanted to be from day one), I can only hope that I’ll stumble across another job that makes me care as much as this one did, and where the people push me to be better like these ones did.
Thanks for the memories and the lessons, Eyeopener. May you continue to provide editors with a home and a reason to engage in fuckery for many, many years to come.