by Jules Banks / Editor-in-Chief
“Nobody likes the Torch,” I had a classmate once tell me, barely looking up from her homework.
“What?” I said.
“Nobody likes the Torch.” It was matter-of-fact.
Three years ago, I stepped into the Torch office for the first time, patiently waiting for the three beeps on the locked door to sound off – a noise I would come to know so well. I was 19-years-old and looking for a job, and Torch advisor and professor Billy Montgomery had trapped my roommate Reyna into going to a meeting. Since I was also a freshman journalism major, she had asked me to come along. I was reluctant, and that earlier conversation was why.
When Reyna, my fellow Editor-in-Chief (EIC), and I joined the Torch, it was a small paper, one that only got smaller as the years went by — and it had a complicated relationship with the university. When we started, we were halfway into freshman year, and the chaos surrounding our little paper had swirled around us long before we joined. And the chaos didn’t stop.
In my three years, I have been called into meetings and shouted at. I have been denied interviews. I have had my paper handed to me, proofread by a professor, who had seen all its flaws post-production and could not in conscience let us continue. I have deleted entire stories out of frustration, only to rewrite them that same night, just to make the deadline. Every year, from Staff Reporter to Features Editor to co-Editor-in-Chief, there have been different problems waiting for me.
All of these things were a lesson, and with each lesson I gained a new outlook on my work and ambition. I can say with full confidence that through the Torch, I have gained so much. In this tight-knit Roosevelt community, where as a young person, it felt impossible to find a group, the Torch gave me ample opportunity to make friends. It has gifted me with real-world experience, a solid portfolio at a young age, and a thick skin when it comes to putting my work out into the world. It provided me income in the most stressful financial years of my life. And, as co-Editor-in-Chief, it has helped me grow valuable leadership skills, and the ability to share that experience with my best friend – the same person who coerced me to come to my first Torch meeting in the first place.
In a small university like Roosevelt, all we are the connections that we make. Through the Torch, I’ve made enough valuable connections to last a lifetime. The team I have had the pleasure of working with are some of the most creative and talented people I know, and without them, this paper would be nothing.
Despite the pandemic and all the other hardships, I have had so much fun working here. I will never look back on this experience with anything but a fierce fondness and pride at the work our staff has put in these past years. We all worked hard to make this paper something we can all be proud about, and it shows.
Nobody likes the Torch? Well, to be honest, I sure do — and I’ve learned in the past three years that a lot more people love it than I could’ve ever imagined.