“And thus endeth our work. Have we accomplished that for which we have worked? Have we given to our readers a paper that was appreciated, or have we merely added another volume to the file of Georgia Techs, and by doing so lowered the standard of amateur journalism?”
I call on the words of the editors of the 1896 Georgia Tech, the Technique’s predecessor, for my last piece in this publication because they bring me a strange sense of comfort. The fact that I have been a part of something so ingrained in Tech’s history that I can look back on the words of editors who came 120 years before me and find so many similarities in our experiences is incredibly humbling and gives me hope that the work I have put into this newspaper over the past four years have not been in vain.
As I near the end of my time at Tech — a time I naively thought would never come because up until this week I felt like I was staring down an infinite black hole of deadlines and tasks to complete — I find myself asking similar questions the 1896 editors asked themselves. Have I done enough?
Was my work at the Technique impactful, or will it simply be sent to an archive graveyard to be remained untouched until a student stumbles upon my words during a class assignment like I did with the volume of the Georgia Tech I am pulling this existential crisis from?
Did people (besides my mom, my biggest supporter who doesn’t count because she’s legally obligated to be proud of me) care about the work I put into this, or did I ignore my therapist’s repeated pleas to quit the Technique for nothing?
To say I have attempted to give my all to the Technique, and as a result the Tech community as a whole, would be an understatement.
The voices of this campus have consistently hovered below my fingertips as I navigated how to organize them all in a neat and concise twenty page paper week in and week out.
My computer’s hard drive has been filled to the brim ten times over with photographs documenting the past four years of the Institute’s history.
People I have spent the night with have filed many complaints regarding the way I distinctly mumble about the Technique in my sleep. I have seen this place at its prettiest and ugliest moments, attempting to fairly report them all while juggling being a student here myself.
“The trials, tribulation, and triumphs of the editors of a college paper are as uncertain as the colors of a chameleon.” When the retiring board of the 1896 Georgia Tech wrote those words, I do not think they could have imagined how true that statement would become during the wake of a pandemic.
As much as I wanted to avoid mentioning COVID-19, it is hard to write this final piece without acknowledging the collective trauma the pandemic put us through and the impact it has had on my time at the Technique.
When we got sent home in March 2020, there was no clear candidate to lead the Technique through its uncertain future. The printing presses had stopped, forcing the staff to figure out how to keep this thing running completely online. Without a hard print deadline to work towards, staff morale was at an all-time low and I would argue the Technique was on the edge of a dark age.
It was then I was pushed to run for Editor-in-Chief, a position I had never put serious thought towards considering I had just joined the editorial board as the news editor mere weeks before COVID-19 hit. At the end of April, I was elected and suddenly in charge of making sure this legacy laid down by the EIC’s before me survived through this intense unpredictable period.
I have a confession to make — and I hope other campus leaders can resonate with this so I can feel less guilty about having this feeling — I often feel cheated out of my time as EIC. The pandemic forced us to host weekly staff meetings online and fear of an outbreak prompted us to stagger the time editors spent in the office working on deadline nights.
These drastic changes evicted the vital community aspect out of the Technique office, taking out the core fun of the paper and leaving behind only the work that needed to be done.
I didn’t get to see my entire staff all in person, in one room until the end of the year banquet. I didn’t get to stand proudly next to them at the GCPA awards and watch their faces light up as their work was recognized.
I lost a year of Wednesday night deadlines surrounded by the soundtrack of my staff members laughing as we tried to decide what we were going to deem “hot” or “not” that week in the opinions section. I lost the spirit of the Technique.
All of these losses factored into the immense burnout I felt at the end of my junior year and led me to consider reducing my involvement with the paper during my senior year.
Luckily, I made the decision to apply to be Managing Editor, a position that represented an opportunity to experience all of those things I had lost one last time. This year, I was able to experience all of those things and more as the spirit of the Technique came back in full color. Well, not literally because we still can’t afford to print this whole thing in color, but you get what I mean.
Despite the seemingly common beef between SGA and our editorial board, the computers that never seemed to work despite IT claiming they finally had them fixed, the occasional emergency article that had to be written when a writer ghosted us on deadline, the time all of the physical copies of my EIC volume of the Technique accidentally got donated to the Atlanta Humane Society and all the other moments that made me feel like this place didn’t love me back, I would not have traded this experience for the world.
The Technique has made me into a stronger person and I can walk across the graduation stage knowing that I can handle whatever the world has to offer. Ending my time here is bittersweet, but I can confidently look back at the questions presented in the beginning of this and find solace in the fact that despite all of the odds, I did everything I physically could to make this paper the best it can be.
In turn, I hope to have inspired those coming after me to continue to make this place better and better.