To quote the infamous MJ: “this is it.” Nine editions, three supplements, countless photo shoots, an NUS nomination and now it’s over. That is not to mention the numerous tears, exhaustion and angry words that come with working in a high pressured environment.
Holding any high position in a society is intense. You find yourself running out of seminars to make meetings and, worst of all, having that constant feeling when you go to bed that, today, you just didn’t accomplish enough. Production weekend is always a challenge. You find yourself away from home for 24 hour stretches, screening calls and doing seminar reading at 5am surrounded with cold Chinese. It’s the weighty responsibility of knowing that any mistake, no matter how small, in those 24 pages, is your fault. It’s reviewing Fusion.
It’s also the joy of knowing when you’ve produced something really great. It’s seeing the younger years thrive and develop skills far superior to what you had at their stage. It’s the (very occasional) feeling that you have a thousand things to do and they are all under control. More than anything else, it’s knowing that you are incredibly lucky to have the chance to do something most people never will.
So, as I come to the end of my tenure as MUSE editor, I find myself asking: was it worth it?
If I look at the cold hard facts, it probably wasn’t. I don’t want to be a journalist but have sacrificed my degree, friendships and relationships for what is essentially an editorial internship. Having so much to do forces you to make choices you never thought you would. There have been times when, due to a vital stand-off with a photographer or a power-struggle with a colleague, I have abandoned people who needed me. I now lose my temper and, more worryingly, my sense of humour. My seminar tutors generally view attendance as a surprise and preparation as a gift from God.
Although, rationally, the magazine was probably not worth it, it was. If you’ve ever worked for something that you truly love then you understand. If not, then you should. The passion and drive that the newspaper instils is something that everyone should feel. If for no other reason than understanding that success is not about talent or intelligence; it’s about waking up early and not leaving until the job is done.
I love this magazine and I love the people that I have worked with. We see each other at our very worst; when an article has fallen through at 4am, a relationship has ended and an essay deadline is looming (and not been started). Often, it’s all three. Anyone who is still willing to invite you to a social occasion after seeing that has got to be worth staying friends with.
The fact that I have been forced to make difficult decisions only makes everything so much better when it goes according to plan. The time and people managing skills you develop are impressive. Job interviews are no longer terrifying because you’ve already had a face off with an irate NUS President. Essay deadlines? Pah, I can write 1,500 words in an hour!
You become convinced that every problemhas a solution; you just have to work hard enough to find it. You move mountains.
So there it is. The truth. Was it hard? Most certainly, but then so is everything worth doing. I feel incredibly privileged to have worked with so many talented and impressive individuals. MUSE, thank you for your time, your patience, and your support.
My apologies for what is most certainly a very self-indulgent column. I promise the next one will be filled with scintillating gossip about the crazy third year I most definitely intend to have. Or at least a joke or two.