Student Editor on Life as a College Journalist: ‘You Can Never Fully Accomplish Sanity’

Amid the bevy of nearly-copycat editor and senior goodbye columns published in student newspapers and magazines over the past few months, a few have stood out as especially insightful, original or shake-my-head-in-agreement true.

Outgoing Daily Free Press editor-in-chief Sarah Kirkpatrick at Boston University wrote one of these standout send-offs last month.

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Yes, she imparts some of the expected pearls of wisdom regarding the myth of j-student sleep and relaxation (“[Y]ou can never fully accomplish sanity”) and the value of engaged staffers (adjectives and nouns she drops to laud her Free Press colleagues include supportive, energy, passion, patient, hilarious, eager, hardworking, sweet, forward-thinking, cheerful, diligent and reliable).

But before that Oscar-speechifying Kirkpatrick very succinctly and compellingly sums up the rigors facing student journalists circa now. Check out the snippet below — a glimpse at the college media battle royale between technology and tradition, the classroom and the newsroom and idealism and reality.

As she writes:

“At this very moment in time, I would argue, student journalists are caught in one of the most difficult situations of any type of student. We are asked to keep up with modern trends, and criticized by the traditionalists when we strive too far outside the box. We are asked to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards, and get scoffed at and feel defeated when we can’t do absolutely everything. We must put sufficient effort into our classes and work ridiculous hours on extracurricular publications to have a shot at any sort of future.

“In doing all of this, we often sacrifice our sanity and health. I’m sitting here writing this clutching a cup of Emergen-C and wrapped up in my leopard-print Snuggie. I owe every bit of my minimal health this semester to Airborne and Clorox wipes.

“It is pertinent we have a place to achieve balance, though. With so many conflicting ideas being thrown at us, and so much pressure being placed upon all of us, we need some place to feel validation, a place to settle at least some of our uncertainty. For me, that place has been The Daily Free Press.”

Well put.

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