When I transferred to Whittier College in the Fall of 2015, I honestly wasn’t completely sold on the upside of a small liberal arts college or how it would suit me. For some odd reason, even as a transfer student from East LA College (which is just down the street), I was still extremely nervous about starting at Whittier, so I spent my first semester constantly studying and attempting to be the great student that I never was. I made the decision to join the Quaker Campus during the Spring semester, and even after two years of staying in the office past 2:00 a.m. into Thursday mornings, I can safely say that joining the QC was the best decision I’ve made in recent memory.
Being a part of the QC did more than just make me a better writer; it made me a better person. In the same way that Whittier’s LibEd requirements helped me re-shape my social perspectives, learning to be a journalist and reporting on important issues around campus is everything I could have asked for in my educational experience, and then some. The QC gave me the opportunity to work closely with members of our community while showing me the lifelong lesson of the importance of an independent publication and critical thinking in an era where it is now more needed than ever.
Just over a year ago, with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, it became clear to me that the United States in the 21st century was not the country I was raised to believe in. Following the election, the QC to me was the shining symbol of democracy in a country that had just elected a man who arguably preaches fascism. Although many members of the Whittier community spent the days following the election in a state of grief (and understandably so), the image of the editorial staff of the paper leaping into action and interviewing everyone and anyone in the community, will be forever engrained into my memory.
Whether it be a story relating to the 2016 Presidential Election, the defunding of campus-media last Fall, or the unfortunate instance of an on-campus death in my first year, the QC staff has never flinched in the face of adversity, and the tenacity I’ve seen from this group is something I can only hope to aspire to as I continue to grow and develop after college.
If this letter did not illustrate this point enough; the message I’d like to convey to the QC staff (both current and alum) is a simple thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write and contribute to our campus, thank you for putting up with my late-hour shenanigans (thanks Jen), and, finally, thank you for giving me a welcoming space to thrive and succeed in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I want all of you to know that what you’re doing is important and necessary, regardless of what kind of credit we do or don’t get. A publication with student voice is crucial for inciting social change, which is the most American thing we can do in an age of struggling democracy. I know the QC doesn’t get the credit it deserves, but that shouldn’t change the way we approach our jobs. There have been times where I felt that our student body wasn’t appreciative of all the hard work we do, but don’t worry about being what our school deserves; instead, be the awesome journalists that both our school and world need right now.
My Whittier College experience has been full of ups and downs, but I’ll be forever grateful of my time here as a student and member of this community. The paper is simply a means of finding ways that we as students, can find ways of making the Whittier community a better place.