Straight to the Top, in Record Time

Nine months ago, I first climbed the stairs to the second floor of the old Student Center and offered a writer’s application (or four) to Editor in Chief Simone Wilson. It was the first step in what I thought would be a four-year plan to achieve editorship. Past incoming-editor soapboxes are mostly variations of “I joined on a whim — never intending to be editor — it just happened.” I’m an exception.

Still, I never intended for it to happen this quickly. Nor did I imagine becoming such a loser that the lights of my life were stalking the A.S. listserv, or landing upon the perfect headline. That said, looking back, all the signs of my accelerated transformation were there.

Only three weeks into Fall Quarter, I made a decision that signifies a point of no return in the Guardian. I removed my mom from the T-Mobile Fave Five.

I know, I know. It’s pathetic enough to have your mom as one of your Fave Five to begin with. But it’s even worse when you replace her with the A.S. president (at the time, Utsav Gupta), who you’re calling at least three times a week.

That was only the beginning. I had dreams about murdering A.S. council members who didn’t call me back. On an all-staff Las Vegas trip, I crawled into a corner at 6:30 a.m. — stepping over various passed-out co-workers — to conduct an interview and write a story about certain dance patterns in honeybees. I took on so many stories that, at times, my byline had a near monopoly on the front page.

I spent so little time in my dorm that a housemate started an “Angela sighting” program, where he’d track the number of times he saw me during any given month (four was the record). I skipped a midterm to cover a sit-in in the Chancellor’s Complex. I spent finals week going through six years of archives, reading and documenting every single article into a 90-page binder — all in the name of institutional memory.

Three quarters, 70-plus articles, one 4,000-word epic and a glorious sloshball victory later, I’ve had the best year of my life.

But, for all that, the reality is that in nine months, I’ve gone from a nobody writer to next year’s editor in chief — meaning I’m still sort of worried about everything I know I don’t know.

It’s not just me. Our executive board next year will be exceptionally young — I’m looking at you, Arielle and Cheryl (fellow freshmen who have already entered the planning stages of Project Recruit Older Staffers to Buy Booze). And every time we want to turn to Simone for a tease or Alyssa for a witty opinion headline, that’s going to be a disadvantage.

However, as hard as it’s going to be next year, our inexperience might also be an advantage. We’ll get that much better that much quicker, all the while knowing we’re all in it together (Unless someone quits. Then I’ll have a new target for my murderous dreams.)

Next year, I’ll still love the blood, sweat and AP style that goes into every issue. But the rest of this space is reserved for Simone’s telltale cough, Reza’s office pranks and everyone who made my first year of college amazing.

Simone, I could wax poetic on how I have never respected anyone as much as I respect you, but I’ll convey my awe by saying that I still distinctly remember the one time you rolled your eyes at me during production. (I put up my “I will work harder” checklist the next day.) Reza and Alyssa: You’ve taught me some of the most basic tenets of Guardian life, from the importance of white space to a sacred duty to save the back-room couch. Emily: Though you may deny it, I know that if Guardian was a sorority, you’d be my “big” — during too many hours together in the office, you’ve taught me the most this year, despite never uttering a word about content. Kelsey: Your emergency edits and yogurt donations saved me during many a production. Jenna and Pecot: Thanks for keeping Hiatus alive, and letting me reserve album reviews ahead of time. Croskey: Your suited-up presence in the office was always a positive one, and I’ll never forget your desert-oasis speech. Edwin: You’ll always have a special place in my heart for being the first (and only) editor to call me back, and reintroducing me to good ‘n’ nasty hip-hop in your DJ Gonzo sessions. Vishal: Your goofiness and love of athletics has given me a newfound love of sports — and now I finally know the definition of “sac fly.” You also taught me how to fend off predators. And I forgive you for Vegas. I really do.

This kind of makes me sound like a loser, but I have never loved anything as much as I love working for the Guardian — and it’s a love I hope never goes away. Incoming editors of 2010-11: We have a lot of living up to do, so here’s to what I hope will be one of the most demanding and rewarding years of our lives.

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