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The good old days

| Friday, March 2, 2018

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

When I took over as Editor-in-Chief a year ago, I had no idea what exactly I was getting myself into.

Sure, I had some expectation of the level of responsibility that would be required of me. And yes, I had some expectation of the amount of stress this job would cause me sometimes. Oh, and I definitely had some expectation of how much time I would be spending in the basement of South Dining Hall.

But I had no idea that the iconic words of a fictional character on a sitcom adaptation would come to mean so much to me over the course of this past year.

In some ways, I was spoiled. Just a month after I took over, we had our 50th reunion as a paper, and I had many people who had been in my shoes telling me that this job was the best they’d ever had.

I think that’s what tipped me off that I might just be in the “good old days.”

Over the next 11 months, I got to play a role in doing exactly what I had hoped to do: tell the story of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s communities. Was it perfect? No. Did it go exactly to plan? Not quite.

But it was pretty close.

I could spend the next couple hundred words describing all of the things this year’s staff accomplished, but chances are you already know that if you’re reading this. And if not, you could spend hours scrolling through some of the great content produced in the last year.

Thing is, work is only a part of what made this the best job I will ever have. I enjoyed just about everything the job had to offer — the highlights, the tough decisions, the emails and the long nights in the office.

And the biggest reason for that, in my opinion, was the people.

It started well before I got this job; I can’t thank people like Greg, Mary, Zach, Alex and Renee enough for teaching me so much coming up through the Sports department, or Margaret, Kayla and Claire for their guidance when it came to learning about the paper as a whole. I wouldn’t have been in this position without all of you, your guidance and your friendship — you made me who I am as a member of The Observer.

But this year wouldn’t have meant anything without my staff. Katie, Marek, Rachel and Megan, thank you for being the best support staff I could have ever asked for. To me, having all of you as the “Jets” is fitting because this year would’ve never taken off without you.

Courtney, Martha, Elizabeth, Adam, Nora, Mary, Chris, Emma, Lauren, Alexandra, Molly and Madison — there simply aren’t enough words in this column to describe how thankful I am to all of you for your hard work as members of Gen. Board over the last year, and I hope I was able to express even a fraction of the value with which I cherish your friendship.

And to the rest of The Observer staff — including Deb, for who can forget her? — thank you for making each and every day so special.

The truth is, there wasn’t much that I could lean on for some stability in my life when I took this job. But each and every day, I could walk into the office and count on the people I worked with. They made me so proud. They picked up my spirits. And most of all, they made me feel loved.

So as I sit in The Observer office Thursday morning, having sent down the paper to our printer one last time, I can’t help but tear up. Because this place has become synonymous with home for me, and the people have become my family.

And the only way I can think to express my gratitude is to say I love you all.

For when I look back on this year, I realize I really was in the good old days, and I like to think I made the best of them.

But it’s bittersweet, too, because I sure as hell know I’m going to miss them.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Benjamin Padanilam

Ben is a senior and The Observer’s former Editor-in-Chief, now serving as its interim Sports Editor. He is in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and also pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

Contact Benjamin