Where to next?
It’s a question that never goes away. It’s the question I’m asking myself as a senior, the question I’ve asked myself on each rung of The Hoya’s organizational ladder and the question I was asking myself four years ago.
I’m grateful that the answer four years ago was Georgetown. I mean that genuinely, not as a convenient transition into unoriginal musings, although those might show up in the next few hundred words anyway. The last three-plus years, much of which I’ve spent embedded in this newspaper, have been the most transformative, most challenging and most rewarding of my life. I just think it’s a shame that it took me all that time to recognize how great they’ve been.
So many of us fall into the trap: We get caught with our heads down and our feet trying to keep pace with our schoolwork, our social lives and our near-full-time extracurricular commitments, and we rarely, if ever, get off the treadmill to look around. When we’re always asking ourselves, “Where to next?” we can lose sight of the here and now, and I think that’s an unfortunate way for our college careers — and our lives — to play out.
But as I argue that we should strive as individuals to suppress that question, I also maintain that The Hoya must fight to never lose sight of it.
At this college newspaper, we have the here and now down pat. While we have a long way to go before we count ourselves among the elite of our kind and even further before we satisfy our mission to serve this community as best we possibly can, we’re generally good at what we do. But notice the areas in which we come up short. Those are no trivial faults.
I’ve watched our staff grow in number and competency over my time here, our online presence rise from the ashes and our level of community engagement increase steadily, but we’re not there yet. Where exactly is “there”? It’s a point in the future where we’ve bridged the gap — where The Hoya is one of the best college newspapers in the country and can look its community in the eye and say, “We’re doing all that can be done.”
Maybe that’s too grandiose a vision, and maybe these are just words on newsprint. After all, these goals are too ambitious to be completed in one student’s four years, and the constant turnover of our staff makes the transmission of institutional knowledge and progress a perennial challenge. The roadblocks don’t end there: Georgetown lacks a journalism major, our staffers must balance their time here with the other demands of student life and, certainly not least among them, achieving independence from the university appears unlikely in the current economic climate.
But The Hoya should task itself with realizing this vision nonetheless. Future leadership should struggle to overcome these barriers while making the incremental advancements that define individual tenures, and if the vision is kept alive long enough, that kind of change is possible.
With as much experience as I have at The Hoya comes an understanding that this kind of piece tempts cliche. That said, I return to the idea that I am thankful to be here at Georgetown. I’ve made the late-night walk home from The Hoya’s Leavey Center office hundreds of times, but there’s been something different about them during the past few weeks. It’s for the first time on these most recent walks that I’ve found myself picking my head up to admire the beauty of this place that I hope will always remind me of so many fond memories. In a way, not appreciating that walk until now seems like the perfect way for it to end — years of missing the bigger picture finally giving way to an insight.
To current and future staffers of The Hoya, I urge you to start cherishing the here and now earlier than I did. But don’t let the newspaper forget about where it’s going next.
Connor Gregoire is a senior in the College and the 138th editor-in-chief of The Hoya. His term ends Saturday.