It’s here – my final issue of The Pillar as editor-in-chief. I’m experiencing a menagerie of emotions – relief, pride and of course, a completely unanticipated sense of loss.
While I’m excited to shed some of the stress this semester has brought, it’s hard to let go of something that’s defined you for a good eight months. The Pillar has opened me up to some incredible opportunities, from lunch with New York Times reporter Scott Shane to a spot on the Alternative Winter Break trip to Costa Rica last January.
But this column isn’t about me.
This column is about someone very important – without her, this newspaper would not be in your hands right now (plus, yours truly would be curled up in the fetal position on the floor of the newspaper office.)
This column is about Sarah Latson.
Sarah is listed on page two as our faculty adviser, but that’s hardly recognition enough for her hard work within our organization. The woman needs a plaque. Or a small island named after her. Really, the title of “adviser” doesn’t nearly do her justice. Of course, I’m not sure what exactly the proper title should be, but “adviser” doesn’t really begin to cover it.
Back in September, I found myself feeling incredibly frustrated with my very first night of layout. Left to my own devices without much help from past editors, nothing was coming out right.
I’m doomed, I kept telling myself. Barely an issue into the school year, and I’m already ruining it. It was looking to be a long, long semester.
Sarah would roll her eyes as she sat in the chair next to me during my mini-freakout.
“You’ll do just fine. Every editor says that when they first start. It’ll get done.”
And you know what? It did. Ten times in a single semester, in addition to issues published during our days as The Metro.
While the editors and writers are entirely hands-on in the production of the newspaper, there is something to be said for a great adviser.
Monday nights have long been the newspaper’s “layout night,” where, after a long weekend of editing, importing and pasting, we look over the finished product to ensure that no mistakes or typos mar our hard work. Sarah stays beside us the whole way, and even though sometimes problems force us to stay at the office until nearly midnight, she is always there to help us solve them. Her passion for the newspaper is contagious, and we take even more pride in our hard work knowing that she has our back and supports us every step of the way. I consider myself incredibly lucky to work with and learn from her, knowing that not all campus clubs receive such help. Having heard horror stories over the past four years about less-than-enthusiastic faculty advisers, I find myself wishing I could bless every College at Florham club with their very own Sarah.
A veteran of the newspaper business, Sarah has prepared me (well, all of us really) for “real world” newsrooms, and made us better journalists and editors. (Commas go inside the quotes, people.)
But the true sign of a great adviser is how well he or she connects with the members of the club, and it is here that Sarah truly shines.
While my senior year has been one of great opportunities and experiences, I have also had my share of struggles. Sarah has helped me through a great deal of non-Pillar-related issues, including, but not limited to, a rough breakup, frustration regarding the future, and the surprisingly tough decision of whether or not to accept my half-year internship across the world, or return to FDU in September to begin my graduate work.
Maybe the proper title has more to do with a great friend than anything else.
As I prepare to hand the keys over to my successors, I know that the combination of their talent and enthusiasm will take The Pillar to new heights.
I would like to thank all of The Pillar’s readers for their support throughout the semester. Thank you for your contributions, for your emails, for stopping me around campus to tell me how great the latest issue looks. It means more to me than I can really express, and I will truly miss being a part of this wonderful club and community.
Good night, and good luck.