If you haven’t seen your literarily-inclined friend in a while don’t worry: there’s a good chance that they’ve joined one of the seemingly hundreds of student newspapers, magazines, and journals that seem to pop up around campus every time a stressed-out humanities major has more then two consecutive hours of free time on their hands. As a writer turned editor for Youvatoday, I should know. From salacious submission-based Instagram pages to the best impersonations of academic publications, the average student should have no shortage of university-sanctioned- or at least, university adjacent- outlets for all their most personal written experiences…
It is in this oversaturated space that, in between zoom meetings and four-person borrels some of us at you today came up with “student stories”. In a perhaps predictable twist, in the short week since we announced this series our inbox has not been bursting with the eager submissions of a hundred undiscovered literary geniuses. And so, faced with the prospect of an empty slot in a week-old series, I decided that I may as well take advantage of the stage I have, for some godforsaken reason, attempted to create, and offer you a glimpse behind the scenes, a self-aggrandizing look behind the already paper thin metaphorical curtain.
Allow me to show you a glimpse of a regular pitch meeting. There are about seven of us on any good day, bachelor’s students going through the various advanced stages of university-induced anxiety, who have, for some reason, decided to add another source of deadlines to their plate. I would have had trouble meeting, let alone befriending these people within my literary analysis student bubble, and yet here I sit on the edge of a desk, half an hour after the meeting should have ended. My assistant editor has hijacked the tutorial room speakers to play some variation of electro-pop I particularly dislike, and a writer is pitching ideas for a hypothetical reality tv show.
None of us are expecting a call from the Pulitzer committee anytime soon, nor is there any financial reward in store for even the most talented. Sitting on the sidelines on any other day I may even roll my eyes at the notion of yet another student paper, but the small group laughing around the cold, soulless tutorial room never fails to, at least for a little while, alleviate the worst of my cynicism. I leave each meeting a little less jaded, and a little more encouraged.
What am I trying to say with this cliche finale, this blatant attempt to half-heartedly tug at the generic heartstrings of any hypothetical reader? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure myself. Is this where I reveal my new-found conviction to pursue journalism, brought on by the rag-tag group of lovable misfits that make up our newspaper? Sadly not.
Like most of us, I still react to questions about my future with a frozen panic that previous generations of college-graduates probably only reserved for natural disasters and bomb threats. For now, I’m grateful for this opportunity to foist my verbose and occasionally pretentious writing on our wonderful readers (a group consisting, as far as I’m aware, of about twenty fellow students and my mother). I hope you have enjoyed this little slice of my story.