Last words

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By Katherine Fernandez-Blance
Editor in Chief

When I first came to Queen’s, I was 12 years old, involved in a one-week enrichment program for musical theatre. We sang “Seasons of Love” from Rent for our final performance, which questioned “how do you measure a year in the life.”

I’m now 22 and as I leave this university and this newspaper for good, I find myself asking the same question. I find myself measuring in love, because it’s what fuels this place, and at times, this campus.

As an editor, it’s easy to stand back and watch the flurry of campus activity unfold in front of you. Our reporters are in the trenches, getting spat at and hung up on for the sake of their stories and photos. These brave souls have faced it all, and day after day, they come back wanting more.

Love is what keeps our staff here till all hours of the night bickering with their editors about the wording of a headline. It’s a deep commitment to this place, to the power of the written word, to the feeling that we’re actually doing something that makes a difference — this is what our love is like.

Anger is also pervasive. Whether we’re witnessing it through the way Queen’s campus reacts to news events in person or on our comment boards, anger is irrational at times, but it’s definitely fostered rational discussion this year.

There are many things that the Journal is not. We’re not a body that is saving lives or defending justice, we’re simply telling stories for our community to share, to comment on and to continue.

I’ve had the honour of writing for this paper for four years and working on staff for three of them. Thank you, dear readers for making this possible.

To my work-wife, Labiba: It amazes me that we’re still standing. Sometimes our days at this place felt like a battle, but your strength and drive pushed this place to be better. I can’t think of anyone better to start and end at this place with.

To my girlfriend, Julie: You’ve taught me how to let go and breathe. Thanks for being the calm during the storm; I don’t know how I could have made it through this year without your love.

To our rock-solid business manager, Geroldine: You made the paper possible. Thanks for knowing how to hustle, and doing it with grace.

Gen, I know it’s been a rocky year to transition into a new position, but working with you has been a pleasure. Our morning chats near the Timbits make for the best start to mornings.

After three years, hundreds of articles and dozens of tear-filled tissues, letting go of this place feels right. Thanks to Jess and my former housemates and assistants for making my experience what it was.

To those that gave me wings: Rachel and Tyler, thanks for taking a risk on me, I’m still surprised you did. Clare and Jake, the best journalists I know — our friendship will survive long past this volume; thank you for making me strong. Alison and Janina: you’ll blink and it’s gone; don’t forget to have fun. I can’t wait to read your first issue.

And to the Journal’s former Administrative Assistant, Gabe King: I wouldn’t be in this position if not for your encouragement.

This paper is more than its print copy, it’s house or its student fee. It’s formed from the collective vision of our staff, and our Queen’s community. It’s the reader that keeps the love alive. Thank you.

Katherine is going to seize the day.

By Labiba Haque
Editor in Chief

It’s 4:26 a.m. and we’ve come full circle. My eyes are tearing up from days of minimal sleep and I’m pretty sure my heart’s beating twice as fast thanks to the excess coffee in my bloodstream. But I don’t care.

If I could, I’d sit here forever looking over every word of every line, trying to make these last words as perfect as possible. This place has that sort of impact on you. It’s a kind of obsession and once you’ve got it, it’s hard to let go. But after four years and 120 issues, I know I got my education at the Queen’s Journal, despite getting a degree from Queen’s.

I sit here in a state of awe at all we’ve done this year — from our first-ever online interactive election coverage to the discussions we’ve generated. And I can tell you that it wouldn’t have been possible without the slew of loyal and dedicated Journal staff who stood behind us.

Even as I write this, I can overhear some of them flipping through earlier issues commenting on how far they’ve come and I can’t agree more. They’re the ones with the toughest jobs and they’re the bravest bunch I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Their talent and resilience makes me have faith and confidence in the future of journalism.

I’m afraid that once this night is over, I won’t ever want to leave.

Katherine, I guess there’s a reason we were called “the Madelines.” We really were in sync even when we disagreed. You’re the reason I’m still standing here today. If it wasn’t for your talent and ability keeping me at bay I don’t know where I’d be.

Jess and Ryan, thanks for being my backbone. You guys have been with me from the beginning and I can only attribute how I’ve grown as a person to your support and friendship.

Gen and Ger, thank for holding down the fort when we didn’t know what to do. It’s been a tough year and knowing your strength in the business side, you only helped keep us grounded.

Gabe, you motivated and pushed me to be a better journalist and most of all a better person. If it wasn’t for that I don’t think I would’ve ever been in this position. You pushed me to be better everyday and I thank you for that.

Alison and Janina, this place means the world to me and there was once a time where leaving never crossed my mind. Knowing you’ll be there to hold down the fort, I can breathe a lot easier. I know you’ll do us proud, I’ve seen what you’re both capable of every day.

Gloria, if it wasn’t for the chance you took in assigning me my first news story, I don’t think I would have gotten the chance to experience life like this. I thank you every day for believing in a naïve first year. To Tyler and Rachel, thanks for helping me grow.

Clare and Jake: Words can’t describe how much the two of you have meant to me. You’ve been my mentors for two years and with every word I write, I think of you.

It would be that in my last words, I’m left speechless. It’s not that I don’t have enough to say, there just will never be enough time.

And to the reader, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. All of your comments — whether compliments, frustrations or humorous snarky online banter — it pushed us to be better every issue. You’re the ones who keep us accountable, if it weren’t for you there’d be no us.

Thanks for reading.

Labiba has never felt so alive.

Thank you to all our volunteer contributors this year:

Abby Andrew
Clark Armstrong
Sophie Barkham
Danielle Bengall
Leslie Bothwell
Olivia Bowden
Josh Burton
Jordan Cathcart
Prisca Choi
Megan Cui
Christie Dehoop
Jonah Eisen
Gina Elder
Jessica Fishbein
Charlotte Gagnier
Katie Grandin
Michael Green
Adam Grotsky
David Hadwen
Emily Harris
Maggie Heathcote
Katie Heffernan
Chase Heinemann
Olivia Hill
Shannon Hill
Andriana Hnatykiw
Flurry Hogg
Timothy Hutama
Greg Kaladeen
Sam Kary
Zoe Kelsey
Jonny Klynkramer
Sam Koebrich
David Kong
Katherine Kopiak
Lauri Kytömaa
Peter Lee
Andrea Lam
Alex Laidlaw
Sebastian Leck
Sean Liebich
Henry Liu
Caitlin Lochead
Emily Lowe
Philipp Lurzer
Karen MacKay
Allan Mai
Sierra Megas
Hugh McFall
Cole Meagher
Emily Miller
Brent Moore
Sara Murphy
Brenna Owen
Nick Pateras
Kiran Rana
Peter Reimer
Laura Russell
Veronica Saroli
Megan Scarth
Kate Shao
Adrian Smith
Nicolaas Smith
Zack Spencer
Sean Sutherland
Styna Tao
Anna Tran
The SHRC
The Vault
Emily Walker
Amanda Watson
Meaghan Wray
Johnny Yoo
Jerry Zheng

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