Tradition dictates that the Gauntlet’s outgoing editor-in-chief writes the last editorial of the year. I’m supposed to have garnered some hard-won life lessons that I can share with all of you. The Gauntlet, as conventional wisdom goes, should have made me a better person.
I spent most of my two years at the Gauntlet trying to change things, and I failed at all of them. The previous provincial government passed market modifiers. Secondary suites are still illegal. There’s no operating agreement on MacHall, and yes, Elizabeth Cannon is still president of the university. All I have to show for my struggles is a handful of newspaper clippings.
But these two years were also the happiest of my life. And if the Gauntlet was supposed to teach me anything, I believe this was it.
Students are often criticized for being brash and radical. We’re too loud and our opinions are too strong. We squabble over things that are insignificant in the long run, and we take ourselves too seriously. I think these criticisms are true. Or at the very least, I’m certainly guilty of them.
But I think this freedom to care too much and fail so publicly is one of the most valuable parts of university. It’s an incredible luxury to spend years of your life considering who you are and what you’re willing to fight for, so take advantage of it.
I was 18 when I was started working at the Gauntlet. I’m 20 now. I don’t doubt that I’ve made many errors running this newspaper, and I only hope my future self looks back on what I’ve done with indulgence and understanding.
Because the real benefit of struggling for things you care about isn’t that failure teaches you things — although it does. The real benefit is that there is an immense amount of joy to be found in the struggle.
My time at the Gauntlet will not be defined by my victories or my failures, whatever they were. It will be defined by the people I spent time with, the endless late nights obsessing over grammar in my office and complaining about media relations with my news editor.
If I’ve learned anything here, it’s that the things we do matter. Probably not as much as I’d like to think they do, but still. It matters what we think and who we spend our time with. It matters what we pay attention to and how we spend our Tuesday mornings. And it matters what we fight for, even when we lose.
So take the time in university to be young and angry and foolish. Life is short, and it’s hard. The best any of us can do is to pay attention and fight for what we care about.
At any rate, I found two years of stuff at the University of Calgary to get mad about. And, for all my failures, I found a lot of joy here too.
Caring about things is difficult. It makes you vulnerable and opens you up to ridicule. But it’s also what makes everything worth it.
Yes, caring about the U of C might be silly and inconsequential. But I still do. And I believe a student newspaper can be important, even if no one reads it.
Although, all things considered, you probably should.
Kate Jacobson, Gauntlet Editorial Board