Ben Wrixon, Editor in Chief
Goodbyes are hard.
While there are a million things on my mind, beginning by saying thank you feels like the most appropriate place to start.
To Matt and Raechel: thank you for taking a chance on me in Volume 148. You were my gateway into The Journal and continue to inspire me. Your kindness, welcoming attitudes, and support were exactly what I needed at that time in my life.
To Aysha and Shelby: thank you for putting me in a leadership position in Volume 149. Your wisdom and perspective challenged me to grow into a better version of myself. I’ve always wanted to make you proud, and I hope I’ve done that in some way.
To Asbah and Cassidy: thank you for rising to the occasion. It’s been a pleasure working with you both over the last few years. You’re exceptional journalists, and more importantly, great people with your hearts in the right place. The Journal is in excellent hands.
To Julia: thank you for being my Managing Editor. I felt like I won the lottery when you accepted the job, and you’ve only exceeded my expectations. You’ve kept my head on straight, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and most of all, become one of my closest friends. There’s no one else I would have rather run this paper with—even if you don’t eat vegetables.
And, finally, to the Volume 150 team: thank you for trusting me to be your leader. Guiding our staff through the school year was a privilege I never took lightly. No words can express the gratitude I feel towards you all or the joy you have brought me. I cannot wait to watch you all accomplish amazing things, be it at The Journal or elsewhere.
Speaking of The Journal, I owe it some thanks, too.
When I joined QJ in my third year, I was struggling to find my place at Queen’s. I was halfway through a psychology degree I didn’t want anymore, had just moved into a new house, and felt my university experience becoming disappointing and directionless.
Working at The Journal gave me a purpose. It gave me an opportunity to do work I felt mattered while putting my reading, writing, and editing skills into action. However, it wasn’t until this year that I truly bought into the culture.
I used to challenge myself to see how quickly I could get my stories finished. I’d go to The Journal house as early as possible on Thursdays to grind out my layout. Eventually, though, I realized I’d been missing the best part of working at The Journal.
It’s about the people. It’s about the relationships. It’s about losing your mind when InDesign stops working at one in the morning but knowing—deep down—there’s still no place you’d rather be than in the layout room with the team. Your friends.
That’s what made this year so special: forming those relationships myself, but also watching them happen between our staff members. Getting to see friendships blossom in real time was genuinely beautiful, and I feel so lucky to have been there.
I’m going to miss those long press days that turn into press nights. I’m going to miss going to editorial board on Tuesdays. I’m going to miss delivering the papers on Saturdays. I’m going to miss throwing Golden Words in the garbage when they put their flyers in our newsstands.
More than anything, though, I’m going to miss The Journal.
Ben is grateful to the people at The Journal.
Julia Harmsworth, Managing Editor
When I took this job, I was sitting on a bed in a hotel room in the Edinburgh Courtyard Marriot. Now, I’m sitting in my little, black, wheely chair in my office writing this with a garden gnome on my desk. What a pipeline.
The Journal has been my lifeline throughout my time at Queen’s. Writing questionable Lifestyle and Arts stories in first year gave me something to think about other than how much I hated res. Being an over-eager newsie in second year gave me something to work and improve at in a pandemic world that felt increasingly purposeless.
Working as Managing Editor this year is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s tested my patience, my good humour, and my leadership skills. It’s made me question my ability to be on top of everything, all the time—something I always thought I was so good at.
It’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve had the privilege of loving my job, of looking forward to going into ‘the office’, of feeling like I’m doing something important. It’s been the greatest learning experience of my life, and as a huge nerd who loves learning more than anything else, I’m thankful.
To our intelligent, talented, wonderful staff—you taught me so much. You taught me what real passion, dedication, teamwork, and coffee addiction look like. I’ve always said The Journal attracts the best group of students on campus, and you proved me right.
I’ve said it before, but I can’t say it enough: every Tuesday, I was so grateful to see your faces in the couch room at ed board. As someone who fell in love with The Journal over Zoom, I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to do this work with you in-person.
To Raechel and Matt—thank you for not giving me the job I applied for. I’ll always admire you for leading gracefully through an unideal situation and making the best of it. This whole year, all I’ve tried to do is live up to you. Thanks for setting that example.
Daniel and Fiona, thank you for Quilt, and for filling the hole in my heart The Journal left when I couldn’t come back last year. I miss those days in Watson 411.
Sarah, my best friend, my housemate, my soulmate—you’ve been on this journey with me from the beginning. Thank you for walking into this empty, quiet house with me on Contributor Day in 2019, for keeping me company in the living room when I wrote my News stories, and for staying much later than you had to on press days so we could go home together.
Thank you for always lending an ear, even when you didn’t have time to. You’ve always been my biggest supporter and I’m so grateful for that. Thanks for telling me to take this job—you were right.
Ben, I’ve had the most amazing time steering this ship with you. Thank you for always trusting me, having faith in me, sticking up for me, and treating me as an equal. Every day, you taught me what respectful, collaborative, productive dialogue looks like. Whenever something inevitably went wrong, I knew it would be okay because we’d figure it out together.
This was a hard year, but even through the toughest parts, you made me laugh every single day. Thank you for being the best partner I could ask for. I couldn’t have done this with anyone else.
Finally, to Asbah and Cassidy—I am over the moon excited for you two. I know you’ll crush it because you care about this place so deeply. Cassidy, I’m so glad to see the Volume 148 News family carrying on. Asbah, we call you King of QJ for a reason: you know more about The Journal than Ben or I ever will, and that will serve you well next year.
Remember: if we didn’t burn this place to the ground, neither will you. When things get difficult, lean on each other and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. And maybe get some black mats downstairs.
I don’t know how I’m going to make it home after locking the door on this last press day, but I’m elated knowing it’ll be unlocked again by the next generation of Journal staff. I hope they find a home here like I did.
Julia is ready to keep learning.
Editor in Chief, Last words, managing editor
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