Editor’s Note: I’ll say goodbye to the newsroom, but not the people

By Camryn Cutinello, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Lucas Martinez

In reading and editing goodbye columns from past staff members, I often see a similar line: “I never thought I’d be saying goodbye.”

In the last year and a half working at the Chronicle, I have found the opposite to be true for me. I always knew I would eventually have to say goodbye, and that made my time here even more special.

I graduated from Elgin Community College in May 2020 without a goodbye to my classmates, my teachers or my newspaper staff. I transferred to Columbia that fall, where I was meeting classmates through a computer screen. It was lonely, and I felt like I was missing out on my college experience.

I applied to the Chronicle in November and was hired as a staff reporter for the spring semester.

I was ecstatic and terrified. I had to learn a new style of reporting in our remote world, and it was an adjustment. It took me a month or two, but I hit my groove, and I loved it. For the first time since I started at Columbia, I had a community to fall back on.

My fellow Co-Editor-in-Chief Noah Jennings and I were promoted into our current roles in May 2021, and it was nerve-wracking. I felt some intense imposter syndrome, especially seeing as I had only been on staff for a semester.

But with the help of Jennings, Managing Editor Anna Busalacchi, General Manager Travis Truitt and Faculty Adviser Curtis Lawrence, I got over my imposter syndrome and began to feel comfortable in my role.

Now, as I look back at my time, all I can think about is how proud I am of the Chronicle team.

After a large part of our staff graduated in May 2021, our downsized staff stepped up to report through the summer, covering Danny Fenster’s detainment, Lollapalooza, community events and protests. We kept the Chronicle running with content.

New staff members joined us in August, right before the beginning of the first in-person semester in more than a year. With only a week and a half of training, we covered the return to campus with a drive and a hunger to keep the Columbia community informed during an exciting but uncertain time.

The return to campus also meant a return to print for the Chronicle. We’ve now printed four issues this year: The Return, The Year in Review, The Sex Issue and last, but certainly not least, The Creatives.

The Chronicle is a living, breathing entity that would be nothing if not for the staff members who show up everyday with a want and a need to report. It’s reflective of the rest of Columbia in that way.

The students — along with the faculty and staff — at Columbia are talented, intelligent and innovative. The work they do gives professionals a run for their money, and the Chronicle wanted to showcase that in this issue.

The people are what makes the college — and the Chronicle — stand out. As I’m slowly approaching the end of my Chronicle career, a thought that makes me cry almost every time it pops in my head, I know how much I’m going to miss seeing these people everyday.

I started at the Chronicle cut off from the rest of Columbia. I hadn’t met anyone in person and hadn’t had the chance to connect with my fellow classmates. Now, I’m leaving with some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

The Chronicle helped me find my people: Jennings, Busalacchi and staff members past and present. It helped me find my mentors and friends, Truitt and Lawrence. It pulled me out of my pandemic slump and pushed me to be the best I can be.

My time here has been stressful, hectic and so much fun. I have cherished every moment in the newsroom, because I knew one day I would have to say goodbye to it. But I hope I never have to say goodbye to the people. Not for long, anyways.