Last words

Raechel and Matt say goodbye to The Journal 

The editors of The Queen's Journal, Volume 148.

Raechel Huizinga, Editor in Chief 

This year, the Journal house was mostly empty. 
190 University Ave., for me, had always been a hub of activity: layout room laughter, couch room banter, a place to hang out in between classes, last-minute writing, and just plain chaos. Losing all of that would be reason enough to become dispirited, but you, our staff, didn’t. 
I’m so, so thankful for everything you accomplished this year. I might be biased, but this has been my favourite year at The Journal so far, and it’s all because of you. You sat in bedrooms across the country pushing yourself through remote course work, public health regulations, and the anxiety that comes with living through a global pandemic. Despite this, you put out a whole Volume of incredible student journalism. You deserve all the credit in the world for that. 
From late-night copy editing and hard-hitting stories to beautiful illustrations, photos, and videos, your positive attitudes never faltered, and that takes a lot of strength. It’s the people who make The Journal resilient, and you guys proved that this year. Aysha, you were already the paper’s leader this year in places where I couldn’t be, and I’m really thankful for that. 
Rachel, my Sister News, thanks for being there when I needed to vent or go for a walk. Dray, you came in like a light through the window this year. Davi, you’ve been with me on this journey the longest, and you’re the person who got me to this point. Brittany, you were the best part of all of it. 
To Nick and Seb—thanks for knowing I was a newsie. Your support and encouragement in Volume 146 and beyond has meant more than you know. To Meredith and Iain—watching you lead the paper through the Student Choice Initiative with such strength and care is something I will always respect. Your hard work built the platform QJ stood on this year, and we accomplished so much because of that—thank you. 
To Matt—you brought me so much joy this year. I feel really lucky to be able to say I smiled every single day of this pandemic because of you. I’ve never experienced a working relationship accompanied by such care and thoughtfulness, and I would never have made it through this year without you. I think people respected you this year for your intelligence and dependency, but they’ll remember you for your kindness and warmth—I know I will. Even on days when we sat in an empty house we hoped would be full, I want you to know I never felt unfulfilled when I was with you. I’ve experienced enough loss in my life to know when I’m gaining something, and your friendship is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. This year you showed me patience, forgiveness, and how to hope for better things. You taught me a new standard I can hold myself and others to, and for that, I’m thankful. I hope our psychic QJ connection never breaks. I’ll finish this off with a twist on one of your favourite references: I don’t just like, I love. 
And to Aysha and Shelby—you are going to have a wonderful year, not because of allowable deficits, fewer restrictions, and a potential return to campus, but because you are wonderful people. I’ve watched staff, including myself, learn from and look up to you for the past two years. You know what The Journal is at its heart, and you believe in what it can be. Your vision for QJ has been a long time coming and having you as my successors is why I feel peaceful in leaving. On the hard days, remember The Journal has existed for almost 150 years and you’re not going to be the reason it comes crumbling down. Keep those who want to see you succeed close to you, and when people try to vilify your strength and resolve, remember you were elected to these positions for a reason. This can sometimes be a thankless job, so remember to thank each other. There’s no clear finish line for this pandemic, so know it’s okay to grieve what might have been. 
On a more traditional note: you’ll never get the floors clean; the door to the basement doesn’t unlock; and yes, the mysterious doorbell noises are definitely ghosts. 
I wish you, your staff, and contributors a year filled with laughter, progress, and a commitment to truth and integrity. High pageviews, masthead growth, and bigger budgets are all great things, but they’re not what should mark your success at The Journal, because that’s never what it’s been about; it’s about making The Journal a place where people can learn to love and believe in themselves. 
At least, that’s what it did for me. The rest will fall into place. 
Raechel is ready to say goodbye. 

Matt Scace, Managing Editor 

Trying to define the past year feels unoriginal, like pulling from a word cloud of terms we’ve heard a hundred times. But when we look back on this year, I’d bet the concept of stillness, both individual and collective, will stand the rigorous test of time. 
The Journal experience has always been anything but still. I’ve always seen 190 University Ave. as a living thing, inhaling and exhaling as a small group of overworked student journalists pour in and out, doing everything they can to keep this paper humming, its lungs stained black with coffee but enough laughter and love to make up for the lost hours of sleep. 
That, of course, changed this year. Slack status emojis replaced overheard conversations in the couch room, Zoom panels the only windows into our staff’s lives. One of the most painful aspects of this experience was the absence of sound filling the house, a reassurance that everything—at least for an hour or a day—was okay. 
There’s that saying about ducks—that everything above the surface appears effortless while its flippers spin furiously below water. It’s a perfect characterization of Volume 148, who spent this year largely alone, toiling away at stories for pennies on the hour, work which would flash up on Raechel and my screens at some point during the week as if it’d effortlessly materialized out of thin air. It felt like a small miracle each time. 
I can’t get all this out of my head when I think about this year. A place that could once be described not as a first home evolved into a brutally monastic existence isolated to a bedroom, phone, and computer. How this group got through this year will never register in its entirety for me. If it’s any consolation, your work landed on a few screens—nearly 1.5 million times, to be exact. 
I don’t believe in perfection, but you were as close as it gets, Volume 148. 
To my little cult of runners: I came to you with a hole in my heart, and you filled it. You’ve been my balance outside this job, a gift of immeasurable proportions. 
Jeff: your friendship and loyalty defy language. You’ve seen every ounce of joy and pain this place has brought me, and I couldn’t be more lucky to have you as a best friend. 
Mom, Dad, and Johnny: in this job, it’s easy to feel like you’re floating in outer space. You three were, and always will be, my tether and the most important people in my life. I love you. 
Joe and Meg: what part of this don’t I owe you? In a year that changed my life, you believed in me before I did, which has carried me further than you know. 
Sebi and Nick: I’m not afforded the word count to describe 146, but for everything it was, you gave me what I needed. All I can say is this: I waited on it. 
Raechel: I write this with you sitting across the hallway, knowing we only have a few more days of this left—an existence I’m frankly not prepared for. While this house was the quietest it’s ever been, it felt more than full with you. This job is hard enough sparing a health crisis, yet each day I could guarantee laughing until I cried. A leader through and through, you’ve been an empathetic and graceful editor beyond comprehension, not to mention the best partner I could’ve asked for. 
Our psychic connection may take a few years to fade, but you’ll have me around for far longer. 
Finally, to Aysha and Shelby: as much as I don’t want to see this sun set, it means I wouldn’t get to see the stars. And goodness, you two are going to be a shining pair to watch. 
The Journal is ready for—and needs—the changes you’ll bring, an ability which you’ve shown more times than necessary this year. If I have some parting advice, it’s this: failures can be gut-wrenching, but they’ll make you incalculably better. Spend at least half your days laughing with each other, remember there’s a life outside these peeled walls, and take care of yourselves the same way I know you will your staff. You’re ready for this. 
I wrote a postscript a few years ago where I described myself not smiling through pain, but at it, which feels apt at this moment. My relationship with The Journal will always be complicated. It’s a place I’ve loved and resented, at times simultaneously. But the twilight of a Journal career is a reminder, particularly as I write this final farewell and watch Volume 149 move in, that it exists to serve far more than one person. For all it’s been, I get teary knowing dozens more unsuspecting but hopeful souls will enter that house and find a home, just as I did four years ago. 
Matt is ready to run with it.

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