Opinion Editor’s parting opinion: The Elm is so wonderful and so crucial

By Sophie Foster

Opinion Editor

I will begin with the low-hanging fruit: I am not really much of a journalist.

Please don’t misinterpret me; I engage often and earnestly with journalism, will forever advocate for journalists, and have loved The Elm more than almost anything else I have been able to do in my time at Washington College. That does not change the probability that my journalism “career” will end here, but it does speak to the immense value and brilliance of this publication.

I came to The Elm as a sophomore looking to broaden my writing community, and I found some of the dearest friends I will ever make and some of the most enriching experiences of my undergraduate years. I will carry all of this with me when I leave WC, and I will miss it all very dearly — inexplicably, even the hours spent feuding with InDesign on Monday afternoons.

It is immensely challenging to approach saying goodbye to a publication that was, in many ways, my first chance to really engage with other writers at WC. My freshman year, as was the case for most in my graduating class, was entirely online, so when I arrived on campus for publications boot camp in late August, I did so with uncertain expectations and a fair amount of nerves. Those expectations quickly turned certain and those nerves were almost immediately dismissed. At The Elm, I have found, each year, true and unflinching community.

For that community, I owe several people my very sincere gratitude, more than I can express in the space I allotted myself here. I’ll do my best to be concise, though if you’ve read my section this year you’ll know concision is not my strongsuit.

Thank you to MacKenzie Brady and Justin Nash, who pulled me immediately into the literary fold at the College. MacKenzie, in particular, unknowingly brought me to The Elm.

Thank you to Erica Quinones and Emma Reilly, my first two editors-in-chief here. From them each, I learned professionalism, poise, attentivity, leadership, and earnestness in editorial work.

Thank you to Vee Sharp and Stephanie Fleming, my first and only copyediting cohort, and to Liv Montes and Cecilia Cress, the news team that gave me the space to experiment with writing journalism early on. 

Thank you to Grace Apostol, who embarked on the section editing journey with me for the first time together junior year. We did not know each other then, and I consider our friendship now among the greatest things The Elm has gifted me.

Thank you to Dan Divilio, who enabled some of my more absurd pitches and guided me with wisdom and patience.

Thank you to Prof. Sufiya Abdur-Rahman. The list here goes on for miles, but I will reduce it to: for mentorship, for insight, for a ridiculous number of classes, and most of all for refusing to accept less from me than what I was capable of.

Finally, thank you to Liv Barry, one of my dearest friends and the best editor-in-chief we could have had this year. Liv is genuine, creative, discerning, caring, and tactful.  She is one of my very favorite people in the world. The Elm has been so lucky to have her, and so have I.

This is where I say goodbye to my name appearing in print in The Elm, but it is not where I say goodbye altogether. I will be here, loyally reading, forever. Future editors, please do not stop asking the big questions and pushing for the hard answers.

Photo courtesy of Sophie Foster

Photo caption: Foster was also a Copy Editor as a sophomore and News Co-Editor in her junior year.

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