Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Editorial: All I learned at Calvin, I learned at Chimes

Photo by Matt Lesky.

All I learned at Calvin, I learned at Chimes.

Of course that’s not true. But Chimes was the place where learning became action and where theory became practice. After four years, 75+ articles, countless late nights and the support of some of the best people at Calvin, I’ve learned things I will carry with me long after I walk across the stage next week.

1) I learned to listen.

Chimes has taught me to be attentive to the discussions and decisions around me. I’ve eavesdropped in Johnny’s, polled random students in the library and walked into Commons’ kitchens to get a quote.

When I listen, I learn that the story I thought I was writing may be completely different from the story that needs to be written.

The most powerful stories I have seen Chimes publish are the ones that go below the surface. Two years ago, we published one of our most-read and most-discussed features, “Listen First.”

Since then, we’ve continued listening — to AHANA studentsNative American students, refugee students, even the people who work behind the scenes at Calvin. Chimes has been a venue for us to take our listening and give it purpose; as active listeners, we share so others hear the same voices.

2) I learned to take criticism.

We make mistakes. Typos in headlines, accidental misquotes, misspelled names. If the article were for a class, it would come back with red lines through it and we would shove it into our backpacks and hope nobody saw.

Our mistakes, by contrast, end up all over campus, on “Overheard at Calvin,” online. And we have to learn to deal with it.

We get emails every week from people who disagree with what we wrote or how we wrote it or what we neglected to write about. Some of these comments are gracious and helpful. Others make us wake up at night with knots in our stomach.

We have learned, slowly, and with a lot of support from each other, that our mistakes don’t define us. I have learned to take criticism less personally and more as motivation to do better.

3) I learned how to cooperate.

There is no such thing as a one-person decision at Chimes. Everything from which article goes on front to whether the plural of “tug-of-war” is “tugs-of-war” or “tug-of-wars” is decided after a conversation with all of us. Our decisions are better because of this. We draw on each others’ strengths.

Our Wednesday nights are marathon sessions in cooperation. None of us could write the paper alone if we tried (except Lauren, probably, but it would take her a really long time), but it comes together week after week, like a miracle.

We are economics and English and social work and political science and business and biology and music majors. We are first-years and sophomores and juniors and seniors. I’ve learned our differences make the paper better, and that we are better together.

4) I learned that my voice matters.

We editors are a little geeky about Calvin College. We know the difference between EPC and PPC. We can name all the deans. We actually look forward to sitting in on faculty senate. But this isn’t something we came into Calvin with.

I was terrified to do my first interview with Calvin administration. I felt way too uninformed and way too small. Slowly, over the years, I learned that not only are administration members usually open and welcoming to students, they actively want to have these conversations with us.

Understanding how Calvin College works — everything from what a provost does to why the board of trustees matters — has taught me that I can understand and not be intimidated by systems. It’s a confidence in my own place that I will take wherever I go.

5) I learned that stories can make a difference.

Lastly, I learned how powerful a story can be. Yes, we do this work because we enjoy it, because it teaches us new skills and helps us develop a portfolio. But we also sincerely believe in what we are doing.

Our work has started discussions that are uncomfortable but important. And sometimes, even in a small way, they have brought about change.

When we wrote about Student Life’s plan to cut Dialogue, people flooded our inbox with letters of support and stories of how the organization touched their time at Calvin.

Because of the cooperation of many friends at Calvin, but also in part because of what we wrote, the organization’s funding won’t be cut next year. How powerful is this tool we have! We spoke. Others listened. Things changed.

Thank you to each of our readers, in print and online. Thank you for forgiving our offenses and offering your support. I hope you will continue being the nitpicky, thoughtful readers you always have been.

September comes soon, and next year’s leadership will blow you away. I know I’ll be watching.

This is it, my last words: I’m done here, but the stories will go on.

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