After my first year as editor-in-chief, I was lucky enough to get away without having to write a farewell, as all Pleiad editor-in-chiefs do when their time has come to a close. Last year at this time, I still had another year ahead of me. Unfortunately for me, this second time around isn’t quite the same. This time around warrants, not a goodbye, but a see ya later, as I pass the baton onto the next person to lead the publication.
Next year’s editor-in-chief might very well have to rip the baton out of my hands, because there are few things I love in this world more than The Pleiad. And I want to tell you why.
Despite concise being nice, it’s never been my strong suit, and considering the copious memories I have of this publication from the past four years, this might very well be the longest article I’ve ever written. Regardless, bear with me. I promise I have a point.
My first memory of Albion is when I was in fourth grade. My mom, Karen Revenaugh (‘87) had her twenty-year reunion, and my family hopped in the car and travelled to Albion to celebrate. I remember starting out the window, asking “Are we there yet?” every five minutes, because back then, the two hour drive from Rochester to Albion felt never-ending.
When I was eight years old on that first drive to Albion, I didn’t know how many times I would end up making that trip in my lifetime, and I didn’t know the road to Albion would feel immensely shorter each time I traversed the familiar path.
I remember standing outside of the Stockwell-Mudd library fourteen years ago, a copy of The Pleiad in my small hands, looking at my mom and saying, “I’m going to go here someday, just like you.” I didn’t know a lot of things when I was eight years old, but I knew Albion felt like home.
The next time I came to Albion, I was seventeen years old. Nine years later, the amount of time I’d been on this earth had doubled alongside my desire to attend the college. By this time, I was being recruited by the cross country and track coach, and I was trying to explore what other passions I could fulfill here at Albion outside of my love for running.
It was on this second visit to Albion when I stumbled across The Pleiad again. I remember, once again, holding a copy of the print edition in my hands, wondering what it would look like if my name was one day printed alongside the others on the staff list.
My third visit to Albion was SOAR, and former editor-in-chief (but future editor-in-chief at that point in time) Beau Brockett (‘19) was working a table in Upper Baldwin for incoming students to learn about the publication. I b-lined directly toward the table, probably moving at a PR pace had it been a race on the track. I asked Beau as many questions as I could possibly think of, and each answer left me wanting to know more about the publication and the people who comprised it.
A few months later, at Briton Bash my freshman year, I made the same b-line to The Pleiad table to sign up for an interview to be on staff. I again saw Beau, this time working alongside the editor-in-chief at the time, Steve Marowski (‘18). I felt the enthusiasm of my eight-year-old self bubbling out of me as I spoke to them.
I felt a strange but wonderful feeling talking to Beau and Steve. Looking back, I think it was a sense of belonging, which is something I never felt in high school. For as much as running had drawn me to the college through the recruitment process, The Pleiad was the reason I stayed.
Throughout my time at Albion, namely my freshman and sophomore years, I’ve faced copious challenges with my mental and physical health, some of which led me to almost leave. As we all have, I’ve faced moments where I’ve wanted to quit. Give up. Run away. But The Pleiad and the staff who makes the publication what it is have shown me my own resiliency year after year. When I felt as though I had nothing, I had my own words and the words of my fellow staffers to share. Even more than that, I had an entire student body who heard those words.
My time on The Pleiad taught me that my voice matters, that every voice matters. And in knowing that people care about what I have to say, I know that I’m never alone. There’s always someone out there listening–and that starts within the staff.
The most profound and impactful memories I have from The Pleiad are the simplest ones, mainly those in The Pleiad office where my freshman year, sophomore year and (half of) junior year, we sat around the tables in our office on the fourth floor of the KC, just talking. Communication is the fundamental principle of the publication, and that was rooted in the communication staff members had with each other.
As our staff grew each year, we barely had enough room for everyone at those tables, but we made it work. We all squeezed in close to each other before social distancing was a thing. We all ate out of the same candy bowl, provided by our amazing advisor Krista Quesenberry, before masks were a thing. We enjoyed normalcy together before the pandemic was a thing.
Which brings me to my next memory – running the publication. For a long time, the only form of running I knew was with regard to the physical act of running. I didn’t know how to manage a staff or a budget or a website. I barely knew how to manage myself. Learning how to run the publication – especially during a pandemic – taught me more about myself than I ever thought I’d know. First and foremost, it taught me that I was capable.
Being editor-in-chief the past two years, I’ve learned that a large percentage of knowing how to be a leader comes from first being led. Steve and Beau set the most amazing example for me coming into the position of editor-in-chief my junior year. In many ways, between only having one semester of managerial experience under my belt, being young and being a woman, I felt unqualified, undeserving almost.
It was in these moments when I reminded myself of Steve and Beau. I knew above all, the main thing I shared with them was our love and passion for The Pleiad. If I had nothing else to run the publication on, I had that. I had intention to live up to the legacy Steve and Beau had set. I had determination to run the publication and run it well. Every time I faced a challenge, and trust me, there were many, I grounded myself in this.
I grounded myself in the fact that if Krista, Steve, Beau and the rest of The Pleiad staff believed in me, I could believe in myself to handle every challenge I faced.
These people on staff believed in me in not only the obstacles I faced as editor-in-chief, but in my personal life as well. As I recovered from my eating disorder, they gave me an outlet to write about it. I attribute this ability to be open and honest as one of the biggest milestones in my recovery. As I dealt with relapse and depression as the pandemic raged on, the members of The Pleiad staff held my hand and held me steady from six-feet, sometimes even hundreds of miles, away.
Former editor-in-chief Michael Haines (‘85), often tells me that The Pleiad is his tribe. In this statement, I see a deep-rooted truth and that sense of belonging all Pleiad staffers, both present and past, seem to share.
I’ve seen staff, over my four years here, becoming more diverse. In race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and background, the publication is constantly expanding to include whoever sees a place for themselves at our table.
I think, in the end, our differences are what make us similar. We hear each other. We see each other. We communicate with one another as we strive to communicate with the student body. The love that Pleiad staffers share is unique, and that love is rooted in a passion for spreading awareness of what is right and just, using the publication as a platform.
As the makeup of staff diversifies, the stories we have to tell do as well. To reflect student voices, as we strive to do, it is essential that the publication continues to grow, continues to expand and continues to do right by the principles upon which it was founded. To reflect the voices of the student body, we have to reflect the makeup of the student body. We’ve made great strides to do this, but there’s always room for improvement.
Every person deserves to stand where I once stood outside of Stockwell-Mudd library, holding a paper copy of The Pleiad in my hands. My parents always called me their little writer, and at eight years old, it occurred to me that words are part of who I am. They make up my vision of the world and my vision of myself.
Holding that print edition in my hands back in 2007, I saw my name hypothetically printed on the staff list on the back of the paper. Everyone deserves a chance to see their name in a vision where they feel they belong. As The Pleiad continues to expand in diversity, I hope all little kids, like my past self, have the ability to see themselves reflected on staff.
There’s a reason that memory is so vivid to me fourteen years later. I didn’t know what I’d go through, but I knew where I’d end up. I’d end up happy. I’d end up proud. I’d end up belonging.
As an English and psychology major, half of my studies include learning definitions of words and the other half of my studies include learning feelings, applying these definitions to everyday life. My time on The Pleiad has taught me both the definition and the feeling of the words happy, proud and belonging. The true meaning of these words are encompassed by the publication and the people who make it up.
To the next editor-in-chief and generations of editor-in-chiefs to come: This is your tribe. This is your time. I pass to you a baton that everyone deserves the chance to hold.