I have tried writing this piece many different times. I don’t know how to emotionally sum up what The Phoenix has meant to me over the past four years in an eloquent, thoughtful way. I think my friend and EIC Anatole Shukla did it better than I ever could, so I’ll leave that to him.
I’ll instead say that when I went to Swatstruck, I was nervous and shy and mostly hid in Clothier to avoid talking to people. However, the one bright spot was that I remember being totally drawn in by The Phoenix Editorial Board. I must have spent several hours on a bean bag in Parrish 4th in the Phoenix Office meeting people on the Spring 2018 Phoenix EdBoard, listening to the pros and cons of different English professors. I felt like I had found my people, and it gave an anxious 18-year-old me hope that college would be what I wanted it to be.
When I arrived back on campus in the fall, I immediately signed up to be a newswriter. I later joined EdBoard as a News Editor my sophomore fall before moving to the Opinions section for a year and ending as a Managing Editor in the spring of 2021. As I look back on my time at The Phoenix, I think about all the amazing people and writers I got to meet, the late-night jokes, and the friendships I made throughout my time involved. That’s not to say there weren’t stressful moments or moments at 3 a.m. when I didn’t question my sanity and decision-making skills; but overall, I feel incredibly proud of the work I was a part of and the people I had the opportunity to do it with.
Which leads me to the advice piece of this column: stop doing activities you hate! During my four years here, I’ve heard so many people tell me about how much they hate a certain club, play, or activity they do, how much it drains them, and how they aren’t even sure why they are doing it anymore. To which I say, and I know I didn’t actually do this all that much during my time here: don’t waste your time on something you hate.
Swarthmore students are constantly being told to cram their days full of extra extracurriculars until they don’t have a single moment to breathe. There are a million and one ways to spend your time on this campus. But that doesn’t mean you should just be doing them. If you don’t actively like an activity, stop! If you dread going to a play rehearsal every day, don’t go! If you secretly hate everyone in your club, don’t join the board!
We live in an environment that does not prioritize our time or our needs, and it’s easy to be swept up in the rush to do more, but that quickly leads to burnout. While you might feel pressure to commit to as many things as you can and take leadership positions, your interests and your well-being should never come at the expense of your mental health.
As I reflect on my time at The Phoenix, my only potential regret is the time I spent unfocused at The Phoenix because I was stressed about other clubs that I didn’t even enjoy. And looking back on my and my friends’ time at Swarthmore, I just can’t help thinking about how much more time I would have had to breathe if I stopped doing things I didn’t want to do. Life is too short and already full of too many unpleasant things to add unwanted extracurriculars to your plate.
Quit that club! I promise that you won’t look back and regret it.