Ten years ago I was swept away by the current.
Make that The Current.
Time’s swift flow always catches me off-guard. Was it that long ago that I was using a wax machine to paste strips of paper onto pageboards? “Coffee and donuts with your paper” at the MSC? Zip disks? Blanche? The bowling nights? The Ecchers? Coming in second at College Bowl? Was it all that long ago?
Well, yes. It really has been a decade since perhaps the pivotal year of my life. During the 2000-01 academic year, I was editor-in-chief of UMSL’s student newspaper, The Current.
I remember a time in my office at The Current when I was looking at the “editor’s mug.” It was a metal drinking vessel inscribed with the names of editors of The Current, going back to Michelle McMurray, who had been editor exactly 10 years before me. I thought at the time, “Wow. Ten years. That’s really long.”
And now it’s been ten years for me!
I don’t think any other year of my life was so jam-packed with firsts and new adventures.
It was a year of traveling to new places like Athens, Ga.; Washington D.C.; and Israel.
It was a year of learning to doing new things like:
- writing a print bid request.
- overseeing the budget and making collections, after my first business manager quit.
- supervising the move from to a new on-campus office.
- producing the 1000th issue of the paper and hosting a big reunion night for Current alumni.
- writing and presenting our budget allocation request after our business manager got stuck overseas.
- figuring out what to do when someone with a litigious history threatened to sue me.
It was a year of practicing journalism. I was the editor-in-chief in title, but I was the de facto production manager and the de facto news editor and a reporter.
It was a year I will never forget. There were problems, to be sure, but overall I had a blast. I made lifelong friends and I did so much that I remain very proud of.
That spring as the end of my term approached, I remembered what previous editors had told me when I started: that I would be worn out by the end of the year, ready to move on.
I found that wasn’t true for me. As the end drew closer, I felt I was just getting revved up. After all, I had just figured out how to do it! (And how to do it well.) But I knew it was time to try a new challenge.
As the year wound down, I was uncertain about the future. I thought an internship with the Cardinals would be a sure thing, thanks to Current alumni connections I had made. I was wrong.
Looking back, missing out on the Cardinals was the best thing that could have happened. That internship wouldn’t have helped me much to further my journalistic ambitions. In fact, I’m not sure why I pinned so much hope on it. Probably just because I believed it was a sure thing.
I turned next to where I should have turned in the first place: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Was it too late, did they still need interns?
No and yes were the answers, respectively. They chose me to be a design intern. I would work primarily in the sports department, the ONE department at The Current in which I had not been much involved during my years there. … And I still design sports pages all these years later.
As I look back at my college years, I am amazed at how things unfolded, and so pleased. I made great friends, had great times, and grew. I can clearly see God’s hand guiding me at every stage, especially when I didn’t know what to do.
When I was a kid, time passed so slowly. Now it feels like I have been carried away downstream by a rapid river.
And somehow I’ve acquired raft-mates. Five of them.
One more thing
I’ve saved a lot of Current-related material in a trunk in my basement. But probably the most interesting is a copy of the video that Erin Stremmel filmed while we were producing the 1000th issue of The Current.
A few years ago I edited it a little and included it with a DVD of family videos. I figured maybe I should post it here for others to remember and enjoy.
Important note: As some may remember from the initial screening of this video at that alumni dinner 10 years ago, most of this video does not have sound. There was a camera problem.
To watch this movie, you need Apple’s QuickTime software installed on your computer.