Fortune cookies and newsprint: three years on The Tartan’s staff

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

As I contemplate my college experience up to this point, my eyes fall on the fortune I received from a cookie months ago, which is now tucked into the frame of my computer monitor.

“Do it because you love it.”

I joined The Tartan in my first week as a lowly first-year. I had written a couple articles for my high school paper, and when I showed up at my first news staff meeting here at The Tartan, I was terrified of the huge organization filled with students much older and more experienced than I was.

I ended up writing what seemed to me, at the time, to be a throwaway article about computer viruses spreading through the Andrew system. It wasn’t too hard — I interviewed a couple people and banged out something like 600 words. However, when the issue hit the stands on Monday, there it was right at the top of the page. “Above the fold” is the proper term, I suppose, and the position is usually reserved for the most important and interesting stories. I was in.

Over the next few months I wrote mostly movie reviews and all was fine and dandy, but when the time for our annual elections came, I decided to make a bid for joining the Editorial Staff. I was voted in, and I’ve held a multitude of jobs within the organization since then.

This is my final issue as editor-in-chief of The Tartan. I have written more than 60 pieces over my three and a half years at Carnegie Mellon. I have worked under four different editors-in-chief, met hundreds of people I would have otherwise never even said hello to, and experienced events that I wouldn’t have bothered to take note of otherwise.

The Tartan has been my college experience. I can guarantee that in the years ahead, I won’t be able to separate the two. I have given up dozens of weekends, virtually in their entirety, for the newspaper. I have sacrificed my GPA in order to better serve The Tartan.

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

My time at The Tartan has given me opportunities to deal with all sorts of crises: interpersonal conflicts, organizational restructuring, public relations, staff retention, morale building, budgeting, time crunches, and last-minute hole-filling — it’s never a dull moment in UC 314, and it’s exactly this kind of real-world education that no university-supplied curriculum can hope to compete with.

I came to Carnegie Mellon as an engineering student. It took me a year, and The Tartan, to realize that I wanted to write for a living, and I changed my major accordingly. As cheesy as it sounds, The Tartan helped me discover who I was, and that is a gift I will not soon forget. Cleaning out my office later this month will be one of the last steps in one of the most difficult — and rewarding — three years of my life.

I’m not leaving the paper, obviously, because it’s a great organization with tons of talent – and of course, I still love to write. However, my final semester here at Carnegie Mellon is rapidly approaching, and it’s time for a new group of students to take the helm. I wish the best of luck to them all — and I have no doubt that our readers will be seeing great things from them in the coming months and years.