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Hello, it’s me

| Monday, March 2, 2020

Everyone has been asking me the same things: How does it feel to be Editor-in-Chief? And the second Saint Mary’s one at that? Are you nervous? Is it a big time commitment? Are you excited? I hadn’t been able to answer these questions for a while. How do you tell someone that you’re nauseous and nervous and excited and scared but as ready as you’ve ever been to do something great for something that you love? 

I guess like that.

Nothing about placing my name at the top of the list on page two felt real until Thursday night. We had a little farewell party at a local pizza joint (I am a proponent of a nice Midwestern pizza, don’t worry everyone), and the paper suddenly became mine. But the most important thing to note is that the paper isn’t mine or the last EIC’s or the EIC’s before that. 

The Observer belongs to everyone who enters the basement of South Dining Hall, never truly knowing when they will make it out of nighty production. It belongs to the students who work tirelessly to create the content that fills the paper while taking on full class loads. It belongs to the tri-campus community that makes our coverage possible. 

There are many facets of The Observer that make it special, the tri-campus community being one of them. It’s independent. It’s student-run. It’s daily. It’s a place people can find friends. It’s somewhere I can call home.

It’s where I wedged myself in freshman year as a little production worker. The tiny office in the basement of the Saint Mary’s Student Center is where I’ve spent countless hours piecing together stories and engaging in hour-long budget meetings. It’s where I realized the work we do means more and reaches more than you’d think.

There are days where it feels like nothing matters and everyone hates what we do. But then there are moments where friends of friends say they read an article and had no idea that was happening, or people I’ve never met before say they’re so excited to meet me. It’s these days that make the grind worth it, that make me want to keep working to make something great even better.

I think it’s time for an anecdote — one that may be a poor reflection on my work ethic, but necessary nonetheless.

As I stare at this Google Doc trying to form some thoughts, my phone buzzes with notifications from my fellow student journalists pausing their midterm studying to find a way to cover Pete Buttigieg’s departure from the presidential race. We’re tweeting. We’re writing a staff report. We’re piecing together information from Chile and grandmas to find when and where the former South Bend mayor will announce his leave.

The chat is full of editors past, present and future, and their commitment is something I can only hope to inspire in others throughout my time as Editor-in-Chief.

I want nothing more than to use my term to show others they should continue working for what they want, grasp opportunities when they present themselves, see the value in being a part of an institution that produces more than another thing to throw into the recycling bin.

I am The Observer’s biggest fan — my Twitter says so — and I hope you will be, too.

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

About Maria Leontaras

Maria Leontaras is a senior at Saint Mary's pursuing a student-designed major in Interactive Journalism with minors in mathematics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Maria used to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer when she wasn't busy tweeting about movies and One Direction.

Contact Maria