The final letter from an editor-in-chief is usually reflective. I've been in the role since April, but I’ve been struggling for a while now to figure out how to write something that reflects the breadth — and meaning — of what The Daily Gamecock has brought to my college experience.
I’ve been a part of the organization since my freshman year. I’ve learned a lot about myself in that time, and most of my social circle comes from other people who have been or will continue to be involved. A lot of people have come and gone in that time, and this year especially, watching them grow into their role comes with a lot of pride.
People keep asking how I feel now that I’m leaving, and honestly, I’m just sad. The Daily Gamecock and the people involved are something I care about deeply, and it hurts that I haven’t been able to give them everything they’ve given me.
This semester hasn’t been my strongest, and there were many points when I felt like I wasn’t even reaching the minimum of what I should've been doing.
One of the biggest pressures that impacted me was the need for The Daily Gamecock to have the same performance level as before the pandemic. We stopped producing a weekly print paper, but we still produce content daily. Many people don't realize this is the same workload as before, even if we don't have a weekly paper on stands anymore. We've also increased our standards and expectations for our work each semester. The difference between then and now is that we are also more conscious of our team's mental health and wellbeing.
When I made or considered making decisions that would mean the team produced less content — such as not working in the summer — it was met with criticism, and I was put repeatedly in the position of defending my capability as a leader and how I chose to prioritize staff health. This was compounded in my personal life by people, who I should have been able to count on, that made me feel like every decision I made was wrong or outright doubted my ability.
There are a lot of things I’ve learned just in the last four months. One of the biggest lessons, one I can see throughout time I’ve been with The Daily Gamecock, is the importance of who you surround yourself with.
If I didn’t have people I could have open and honest conversations with, such as our faculty adviser and my close friends, or a capable team I knew I could count on when I hit rock bottom this semester, then I most certainly wouldn’t be writing this because I would have had to step down.
I’m still figuring out how to build strong relationships with the people I want and when it’s okay to be selfish in setting a boundary or expressing an emotional response. But I know how to do those things so much better than when I started college, and it’s the community I’ve found at The Daily Gamecock that gave me the foundation to learn.
So, for what my opinion is worth, the most important thing you can do for your personal success is surround yourself with people who accept you at face value and support your personal development, whatever that means to you. If you haven’t found those people yet, I very sincerely hope you will soon.
It’s been a rocky road, but I look forward to the next chapter of my life, wherever it might take me.