That’s a Wrap!

“Is it spring yet?” I ask myself as I put on my winter jacket for yet another day and bury myself under its weight grudgingly. I mean, it is getting hotter, so I don’t really know what is stopping me from being the daring person in shorts walking to class from the outside. Seriously, Josh, how are you not freezing to death? Oh well, maybe it’s my tropical genes. Maybe I’m just too cowardly to make the switch. But seriously, I think I just don’t trust the Canadian weather. I realize spring began officially on March 20th, and while it has gotten warmer, that hasn’t changed even the slightest thing for me. I ate ice cream in the winter, I will continue to have it in the summer. So really, what has changed?
Anyway, this is the last issue of the term! Woohoo! My time as the Editor-in-Chief is almost up and I really enjoyed every minute of it. There are so many things I wish I had done differently, so many lessons I have learnt, and there are so many memories I will completely cherish. Here are a few of my favourite little anecdotes from this term.
The first few meetings of the term consisted of three people. Raeesa, Gabrielle, and I would sit in the Iron Warrior office exchanging stories about our lives, ranting about everything that is annoying in the world and just simply chatting. At one point Raeesa said something like, “Everyone asks us how we get any work done when all we do is talk,” and really, I still don’t know the answer. With how much fun the paper is to produce, and the amazing amount of help I received from Raeesa and Gabrielle on the paper, it really just made all the work a whole lot easier.
Raeesa has also been with the paper ever since first year and she is graduating this year. She calls the paper her baby, which I find super adorable. It is also her birthday as I write this, so happy birthday!
Clubs and Societies day was another fun time! Mridu and I went prize-shopping before the day and even created the spin-the-wheel. It was really calming to pick up coloured markers to draw again. I never thought I would be doing arts and crafts again but hey, The Iron Warrior really does encompass and demand (request) all the different skill sets. Honestly, even at the Clubs and Societies day, when I told people that writing is not all that you have to do at the newspaper, they just seemed confused, surprised and taken aback. Our spin-the-wheel was proof, right under your nose. You just had to look, Sherlock.
But anyway, after the Clubs and Societies day in SLC, fourteen people came to the next meeting, you guys. We had to borrow an extra chair from a classroom. My fear of public speaking just lurked in the corner as the number of attendees grew by eleven. People pitched ideas about reviewing bubble tea, but it never happened. There was also a pitch for tips about keeping healthy for exam seasons. But the person whose idea it was ghosted us after that meeting and the others didn’t feel even remotely qualified to write about this topic. So here I am, bidding all the articles that never really happened a goodbye. I hope they get discovered by someone else in the near future. For now they rest in the archived folder of my Gmail account.
Another, really interesting phenomenon that took the paper by a whirlwind was TV show-themed crosswords. I definitely saw more people attempting the crosswords because the topics were more relatable. It also ended up sparking so many conversations and I have never gotten more spoilers for Grey’s Anatomy in my life. I only wish someone would make a Friends crossword next (nudging Kirsten through the power of my mind)! Wait, is this one Friends?
So, if you can’t tell by how much you have read so far, being a part of the Iron Warrior has been really really special for me. It can be the same for anyone who chooses to be a part of this great group of people.
Most of our meetings consist of having conversations while eating baked goodies. We talk about a vast number of topics including news, the happenings of our lives, our courses and literally anything that comes to our minds. I like to think of them as more of a rant circle than a meeting. Yet, they yield great results in terms of content for the paper. In this issue, we have an update about a potato that has been sitting at Gabrielle’s place for a couple months. Really, isn’t that the kind of quality content that we expect from our paper? I am so proud of that little guy doing his own thing near a window – what a good boy!
As fun as the paper has been, I really wish I had done a few things differently in my time as the Editor-in-Chief. The first thing being holding more interactive meetings. After the eighth meeting, Ratan commented, “Hey, that was a good meeting!” For reference, we only have ten meetings. That got me thinking how I could have made the meetings better in the first place and quickly realized that while I do encourage ideas from the attendees, I don’t really offer many ideas myself and that leads to some really awkward silences during the meetings. I realized that if I had brainstormed ideas on my own before the meetings, that would have sparked better conversations and even encouraged people to banter and throw in ideas of their own. If I could go back in time and tell my past self to do this, I would.
I also would have loved to exist in a timeline that does not involve me pulling all-nighters every two weeks before the paper was due. So once the layout has been completed, the PDF of the newspaper needs to be sent in for publishing preferably before Tuesday morning. For the first two issues, clueless as I was about laying out the paper, I ended up not going to bed at all on Sunday or Monday nights, depending on the week’s schedule. I wish I had made myself more familiar with the layout software well before the first issue came out. I also wish I had started laying out the issues in a timely manner. Nonetheless, I really did learn how to use the software really well and I have gotten much better at layout now. At least, I haven’t had to pull any all-nighters for the last two issues. Who knows about this one, however?
You might be wondering, why I am telling you all this seemingly unrelated gibberish. Here is why. When I joined the Iron Warrior, I wasn’t very certain if I would be able to fit it all in to my schedule. I also had doubts about being able to write well enough or even if I was fitting in with the group of people back then. I was in my second year back then and I had tried a variety of different clubs before I found the Iron Warrior. I quickly realized that the newspaper is a safe space, and everyone is welcome. I found the club that I most liked and I have stuck with it for almost two years now. I highly recommend anyone who has the same doubts as me to take the leap and just join a club. This has been the best decision I have made in my undergrad career so far and I promise you wouldn’t regret it either. It is a really nice escape after class when everything seems way too stressful to go back to the club of your choice and not talk about academics for a bit. Chances are that you will find many like-minded people as yourself when you join a club that you really fit into and share the interest of that club.
I think my favourite part of the paper is how it allows everyone to take a good look within themselves and use skills that they might not have found useful before to make the paper even more interesting. Have you ever been frustrated because you have this really clear image of something you want to sketch in your head, but you can’t because you don’t think you can draw well enough? Well, guess what? The paper does not care how good or bad you are at drawing. We love publishing comics, regardless!
While my time as the Editor-in-Chief of the paper is almost up, I am far from saying goodbye to the paper. My feminist column has been such a great way for me to express myself and just rant about the injustices of the world and I hope to keep on continuing it. This has been a blast and I cannot thank all the people who contributed to the paper enough. And while I still have you, join a club, you all. You won’t regret it! Reach out to me about the clubs you want to join, or ask me about the Iron Warrior at iwarrior@uwaterloo.ca.

Leave a Reply