Until Our Reunion: This Is Your EIC Signing Off

Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures

“Goodbye” is the saddest word in any language. It holds a myriad of connotations and none of them are bright and cheery, that is until I discovered that the German goodbye “Auf Wiedersehen” literally means “until our reunion” according to Wikipedia. (German speakers, I apologize if that’s wrong, but I like the sentiment, so I’m running with it.)

I thought I had another two years to craft this goodbye. I thought I was going to go to grad school and spend another two years learning and developing my craft and editing a newspaper that I’ve grown to love. The Arka Tech feels like my baby, even though I’ve only been the editor in chief for two semesters. That’s how much I love and am proud of this newspaper. Sometimes you just find your niche, you know? And I found my niche here. I found my niche as an editor. To say goodbye to that is not an easy feat.

Sure, in two years I would have had to say a very permanent goodbye but saying it two years early is something that no one has prepared me for. A lot of this goodbye has to do with the uncertainty of the future. I do well with a little structure. Most of the time that structure is obliterated but it’s obliterated by my own doing and I can wrangle myself back into the structure when the occasion calls for it.

There is no structure in the face of COVID-19. No matter what I do, I feel myself sinking in quicksand. Homework, school, the paper, my animals, my home life. I’m juggling a never-ending list of things and I’ve dropped the ball so many times the past month. (Has it really been that long already?)

Some universities are considering the option to postpone in-person classes until the spring semester in 2021. As an extrovert who learns better interacting and bouncing off of other people, online classes for the first semester of grad school is something I don’t relish the thought of. I wouldn’t be able to give my all and I’m such a perfectionist on my schoolwork that the idea of not doing my best for a pivotal first semester scares me. It’s why I’m leaving Arkansas Tech University when I graduate in May. I’m leaving ATU and my position as editor in chief.

Am I being too hasty? Maybe. My mom has already told me that I should’ve waited closer to July to make my decision, but burnout has played a part in this decision as well. I’m not burned out with the newspaper; I’m burned out with the schoolwork. As a person who loves learning, this burnout is not a good sign.

I started writing for the Arka Tech three years ago after Time Out for Tech. Journalism was my original major when I started school in 2012, but after a four-year break, I returned to ATU as a creative writing major and a film studies minor. I wrote film reviews for the Arka Tech then slowly evolved to opinion pieces and editorials, which I don’t particularly enjoy, but for some reason, I always become super passionate with them. Not sure how that happens.

So, I don’t have anything inspirational to say about journalism because I’m not a journalist, not in the way someone might think. But I will say this: my staff the past year has been such an integral part of the success of the newspaper. I would not have been the editor in chief that I was this semester without them.

I’ve always believed that managers should give more love to their staffs. They are the reason managers have a job. They are the reason the business exists. The same goes for newspapers as well as the Arka Tech. The same goes for my staff. Without them, without their courage and without their gumption and their talent, this job would not have been as fun as it was.

Journalism is a special form of art. I’ve learned that in my three years of writing for the Arka Tech. Art is an important part of our society, especially in times like these. We turn to art to soothe the pain and fill the holes in our lives. Art brightens the world. Art gives us all hope. As a movie reviewer, the ability to combine both forms of art that I adore into a tapestry of beauty makes me happier than I can ever express.

As this lockdown continues, as this semester ends and the newspaper wraps up, I wanted to just say thank you. Thank you to the students and faculty who support us. Thank you for the students and professors and coaches who were willing to speak to us. Thank you for members of the community who picked up a paper in our many stores throughout Russellville. Without your support, the Arka Tech wouldn’t be as successful as it is, and my staff and I appreciate you.

I appreciate the time I got with the Arka Tech. I appreciate what I’ve gotten to do and experience and create. I appreciate the ability to make people smile. I appreciate getting to inform the public and being a part of this newspaper.

So, this isn’t goodbye. This is until our reunion, whenever and wherever that might be.

Shelby Arnold

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