Couples are cuddling in the quad, cynical cyclists are plotting to run them over, and the Martlet crew has just prepared our last print issue of the volume. Even with the cloying stench of tree blossoms and new beginnings on our clothing, it can be hard to let go of everything we’ve put into the last year, or the last seven years. Whether it’s been a first experience away from home, a bonding journey with the team, club, and pals, or a last nose to the grindstone for that special project, our time at university seems momentous. We want to take it all in with insight and nostalgia, but we have exams, final papers… it’s the sprint at the end of a marathon, and we’re tired.
As students, we pulled agonizing all-nighters in the library, lab, or in our case the Martlet newsroom, and if we’re lucky we leave campus with something to think on, a few decisions we’re proud of, a body of work, some papers. Whether any of it matters depends on what we do with it, and for that, we need motivation. What were we trying to do with our lives again?
In my time at the Martlet, your student newspaper has strived to ethically and unabashedly report issues and information that matter, voices that change lives. As a journalist I grew up in the Martlet newsroom, covering CARSA, strikes, the disability beat, free speech, research and innovation, and some littler ones. The stories I’ve written may not look like works of passion, but I love writing news. A good brief satisfies like a puzzle; you have to gather the parts, search out missing pieces, order the chaos, then fit every facet into place until everyone sees the whole picture.
As editor, I’ve drawn a hard line where others would willow, I’ve flexed when some were flummoxed. I’ve watched you, dear readers, navigate this complicated campus in a world that’s changing and tried to reflect some of your strength back to you. In some ways, that’s what university is about. You spend altogether too many resources on something most of the world never thinks about. You try to muster some good out of minutiae and look for people who are the same kind of quirky that you are, to share what you’re crazy about.
These student endeavours are nothing to take lightly. This year, as last year, a UVic student won the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. This 21-year-old with a BSc in biochemistry has sat on the board for AIDS Vancouver Island, worked to improve access to health care in rural Kenya, with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control on drug harm reduction in Vancouver, in a B.C. Cancer Agency lab on gene protein modification; he’s looking at social determinants of health as his way to make the world a better place for all of us. Dylan Collins is an extreme and, as such, inspiring example, but students work toward constructive social change every day.
Maybe we’re not all curing cancer in Africa or whatnot—maybe we wish we were, maybe we don’t—but we should all be doing something we care about. University, with all its cash, collectivism, and curiosity, offers opportunities and challenges unlike anything else. We all came here for a reason, and as we depart, it’s time to remember that raison d’être.
Oh, go on. We know you still have cramming to do and caffeine to guzzle. You don’t have time to reminisce. But when you come up for air, the Martlet will still be here. At the end of its 66th volume, the Martlet has been an anchor on this campus since back when it was still Victoria College. If ever you need a reminder of the greatness that you’ve been a part of, browse back through the articles and archives. I know I will.
Thank you for reading,