Editorial: Chimes transformed my college experience

Photo+by+Matt+Lesky.
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Editorial: Chimes transformed my college experience

Photo by Matt Lesky.

Photo by Matt Lesky.

Photo by Matt Lesky.

Photo by Matt Lesky.

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Around two years ago at this time I received an email from then editor-in-chief Ryan Struyk which would forever alter my Calvin experience. If I recall it correctly, it was a simple letter of encouragement to apply to be a section editor while thanking me for my commitment in actively writing for Chimes.

At that time I was an average staff writer, starting off in Arts & Entertainment before moving onto the now discontinued National/World News section. If it wasn’t for that email, I would have never made the choice to apply for Chimes, and I would have never realized the significant role that the organization would have over the last two years of my college career.

When I first got wind of my application acceptance, I was surprised to learn that I had been offered a position in campus news, my third choice, and a position I felt severely underqualified for. I was neither an English major nor a journalism minor, and I was not involved on campus. I learned that you didn’t have to be any one of those to make a difference at Chimes and in the Calvin community.

The idea of making a difference stood out to me. In campus news, my co-editor Connor Sterchi and I brainstormed ways to share the stories of students. We moved to featuring individual students that did incredible things at Calvin.

I learned about a student who could make it to the next Paralympics and another who had tens of thousands of YouTube followers. I was passionate about getting the stories out and getting the stories right.

Chimes has given me the opportunity to cover and share a wide range of stories. Whether it was covering the sale of the Ladies Literary Club, the 2015 Calvin lockdown or featuring the stories of international students, I got the chance to write the breaking and important stories and share the untold stories of many in our community.

Coming into Chimes has refreshed my outlook on the college experience and has opened my eyes to a whole new level of college happenings. I went from an ignorant, apathetic college student to an informed and passionate student regarding issues and stories floating around campus.

By my senior year, I applied to join the leadership team, first as online editor in the fall and then fulfilling the vacant print editor role in the spring.

Chimes has given me the chance to sharpen my writing skills while also paving the way for new and meaningful friendships in a tight-knit community. I discovered that not only was I passionate about my work and excited to be in this community, but I was passionate about giving back.

As an international student, coming to Calvin College meant moving to a country nearly 10 thousand miles away and leaving friends, family and the familiar behind. But my time at Calvin has been incredible. I found an amazing community of friends that became family and had enough financial aid to keep me going for four straight years.

Because of all that, I wanted a way to give back to Calvin. One of the ways I was able to do that was through a tireless commitment to Chimes. A big part of that were the late nights. I learned to accept new responsibilities and watched as expectations and commitments changed throughout my years at Chimes.

When I was a writer, it would take an hour or two of a day to write an article. As an editor, my commitment  meant giving up a block of a few hours of my Wednesday nights. Becoming a leader has meant finishing my homework a whole day early.

Regardless, I carried through. People often ask why I do it and why I stay until 4 or 5 a.m. to get the paper done. I almost always answer: it’s because I love what I do. And that is completely true. I am thankful to be working with other incredibly passionate students and I love every chance to share stories and give back to the Calvin community.

So to everyone in Chimes, thank you for bearing with me these last two years. It has been a pleasure to be your campus, online and print editor. To anyone who’s on the fence about joining Chimes, I highly recommend you do so. It’s truly a life changer.