This job has involved a lot of walking. During my freshman year, I was the only editor who both lived on Upper and stayed late enough to see every page of tomorrow’s issue be sent to print. Save for a few coveted early days, I rarely ended up leaving before 2:30 a.m. The Upper stairs never felt longer than they did from November to February on Monday and Thursday mornings, when, truly, nobody else was outside (and don’t even ask about the 2018 walk from Mac to South Street). If I slipped and fell as I took those Upper steps two at a time, it’d have taken a few hours before anyone found me.
I never slipped (or if I did, nobody saw, which, truly, is all that matters). Surely there have been numerous close calls, peeved roommates, and missed 9 a.m. classes, but those never got to me. After all, I couldn’t study as much, I told myself, because I was finishing a page, or editing a story, or writing something that I couldn’t tell anyone about. Since I’ve been here, nothing has been as consistent as The Heights, its people, and its unending list of things to do. Until December 31.
I’ve woken up in a sweat at 4 a.m., convinced that I forgot to submit a page that an editor spent the entire night perfecting. Once, I even stopped outside Robsham at 1 a.m, pulled out my laptop, and checked the page list because during the 10-minute walk home, I convinced myself I had forgotten to send them. I’ve taken finals where I was so focused on a story that I was absolutely convinced everyone needed to know about that I couldn’t focus on anything else. I’ve been kept up until all hours of the night wracked with the fear of getting sued or expelled or driving The Heights broke or all of the above. If I had to quantify that in circulating levels of cortisol, The Heights would not be unlike taking 15 credits of organic chemistry in Latin over three years (and I barely got through eight credits in English—med school admission committees, I promise I was doing something important during my four years here).
But I’ve also walked up those Upper stairs at 5:15 a.m. with the sun rising behind me after leaving the Soldier’s Field IHOP just 20 minutes earlier. I’ve pulled my only true all-nighters in college listening to my friends go on about everything this organization has done for them, and allowed them to do. I’ve sat on a roof in Maine watching canoes at dusk in a place so picturesque and cliché and absolutely magical that you feel nostalgia while you’re still there. Too often, I’ve forgotten what an insane privilege it has been to dedicate as much time as I possibly could to a group of people and an organization that has given me just about everything I could’ve asked for. It’s absurd.
Wednesday productions weren’t worse because we used to do this twice per week, but because that extra day until the next Sunday production felt like forever. I’d have to wait an extra day to hear a new (old) song, or to listen in to what the upperclassmen were talking about, or to simply carpe that f––ing diem, as the office’s tapestry-adorned wall so elegantly commanded. When I didn’t want to go to class, my dorm, or back home, Mac 113 became them all.
In the three years (to the day) that I’ve been here, I’ve met my best friends, my roommate, two of my editors’ dogs, and 16 past editors-in-chief. I’ve used the office for 10-10:50 a.m. breakfast retreats during sophomore year and for my worst days at BC. I’ve had some of the most important conversations of my college career here, and I’ve stood alone in the office on aging spinny chairs while trying to string new Christmas lights across the peeling walls before the new year. Reader, the terror of standing on spinny chairs—at night, alone, with no way to call for help—is simply not worth it. Use a stool.
I came to the office for the first time because two upperclassmen insisted I see it even though collectively, they had spent about an hour with me. On Dec. 4, 2016—my first production day and 19th birthday—editors whom I hadn’t even met yet sang and celebrated the first Heights birthday of the new Editorial Board. They didn’t know anything about me, what I wanted to do, or even if I’d come back the next week. But their energy and dedication to this organization was contagious.
More important than being the first outlet to publish or getting everything copy perfect is having The Heights be full of people who love storytelling, each other, and BC—in that order. I’m so grateful that next year’s editors will have all those opportunities, but now, I can wait until Monday afternoons to see the results for myself.
Featured Image by Steven Everett / Heights Editor