College has taught me that you don’t really know a person until you live with them—or until you work with them in a small group and spend three consecutive days in a very small office together.
That’s a slight exaggeration—Waltonian editors don’t really live in the office during layout weekends. Sometimes we walk back to our dorms for a few hours of sleep, and sometimes we go out to buy a bottle of Vitamin Water at Breezeway to get some fresh air.
Even so, when stress levels rise, ideas clash and the sun is peeking over the horizon but—what’s this?—there are still empty spaces on pages—this can bring out something unpleasant.
At times like this, tempers can surface and smiles turn into straight-up attitudes. Honestly, who doesn’t get grumpy when they’re tired?
What I’ve realized is that I’m actually grateful that, after spending my weekend wishing I was somewhere else—and, at times, with someone else—we’re still talking to each other and we’re still friends. And maybe a little closer because of it.
I can look at any of the editors and think, “Remember how my eyes looked puffy and weird from staring for hours at a computer screen and you looked equally exhausted?” Or, “Remember how I called you out for missing your deadline but now it’s behind us?” It’s like we bonded.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that layout weekends were like the boot camp of working with others. Besides learning how to follow AP style and write headlines, it’s prepared me to deal with people when I leave this place.
This kind of preparation for the real world is priceless—no matter what major you choose or what job you end up with.
Because, unless I get paid to live on a private island, I’m going to be working with people of all different personalities and work ethics for the rest of my life.
If I could have to worked with anyone at all for the past year, I would have stuck with this group of people. I would never have expected to find friends in this patchwork of editors—after all, they’re pretty terrible singers and tend to make me laugh when I’m supposed to be angry with them.
Still I can’t wait to get out of here. I mean, it’s been fun! But, to next year’s staff, it’s all yours now—I know you will all do great.