The Brock Press office was the first room I ever walked into on Brock’s campus. I knew immediately that it wouldn’t be easy, but also that I was going to stay there for the next four years.
In 2018, I applied to be an assistant Sports and Health Editor at The Brock Press. I was a few months shy of my 18th birthday and I had no idea what the future had in store for me. All I knew was that I desperately needed to find a job on campus, and that writing was the only thing that I’d ever put any real effort into getting good at.
I had no idea what I was doing, the idea of walking up to a rugby coach on the sidelines after a game made me feel nauseous, but I pushed onwards anyway. I had no idea how to structure my articles, I still have trouble coming up with a decent headline.
Over time though, I learned and I learned quickly. It turns out that the best way to learn how to write was to have to do it every week. The first time I piped up in a meeting was to ask if I would be allowed to cover the women’s hockey team in the winter. Despite some uncertainty, I was allowed.
I quickly found a passion and spent my weekends at the ice rink. I sat in the back, beside the statskeepers with a little notebook. There I learned how to recognize plays from the outside, and how to spot talent. I loved it, more than anything else I had done in a while. I found something else that I was willing to put real effort into getting good at.
Some of my fondest memories from my time as an undergrad are going to the centre on that ice rink. It took two buses to get to, and I always insisted on being at least two hours early. The games didn’t get out until late, and I would often have to wait an hour for the last bus to come. I wrote my game stories from the Tim Hortons across the street, and even though it was cold and late, it really felt like I was learning.
Today, I cover professional women’s hockey. I’ve been credentialled for home games, all-star-games and the finals. I still wait hours at a time for public transit, and I still write and submit stories from whatever quick-service restaurant is the closest. I would have never gotten good enough to do this, if it weren’t for those hours I put in all those years ago.
Working here taught me a lot. I think one of the fundamental reasons that The Brock Press exists and should continue to exist is that Brock doesn’t have a journalism program. This is a place where students can learn skills that could land them jobs or lead to masters program admissions. The scariest, but most rewarding part of this experience has been the opportunity to teach those skills, and to pass on what I’ve learned. As the managing editor last year, and the editor-in-chief this year, I was privileged to watch other, young, talented writers learn their craft and fall in love with writing articles the way that I have.
I’m going to miss walking into the office, and I’lll miss the chaotic vibe that only exists when you put 12 writers, two photographers, one social media coordinator and their business manager in the same room.
Working for The Brock Press was the only constant in all my years at Brock. When I was panicking as I changed my major twice between second and third year, I knew that I would still be walking into the office on Monday. When a four-year degree turned to five, I knew that it meant I would be ready to take the editor-in-chief job this year. When a pandemic turned everybody’s life upside-down, there were still articles to submit on Saturday at five.
Working for The Brock Press is life-changing, beyond what any academic class could hope to be. It’s paid which is so important, and something that many student papers fail to do. This means that not only was working here entry level, it was financially sensible.
It’s tradition for EICs to write a goodbye article, but I like to think that this is more of a thank-you article. Thank you to The Brock Press for becoming a home to so many people. Thank you to every student who has ever paid their fees, you’ve helped us pay our staff and put out quality work every week. Thank you to anyone who’s ever read an article written by us. Thank you to every EIC who’s come before me for keeping the lights on and the fires out; it’s a harder task than anyone realizes. Most importantly, thank you to this year’s staff for being brilliant and committed to this job.
Haytham Nawaz, Annilea Purser, Alejandro Vasquez Coronado, Christian Roethling, Abbey Bilotta, Dapo Babajide, Valentina Guerra, Austin Evans, Luke Sweeney, Tomas Morgan, Brenden Cowan, Charlie Martin, Sarah Chan, and Abdul Anjum; thank you for making The Brock Press a stop in your journey, I’m sure that you’re all going to do great things.