Jimmy Flynn and Kali Swindell
May 24, 2018
I am not a journalist. Or, at least, I’ve never identified as one. So to be writing to you as the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of The Santa Clara is—in a word—odd.
I was hired by the newspaper as a first-year staff writer for the Scene section. It was obvious from day one that I was not cut out to be a journalist, at least not in the traditional sense. I neglected to take any relevant classes, disliked interviewing people and found objectivity to be an impossibility.
So I pivoted, opting to develop my own voice as a writer. Using my creative writing background, I focused my efforts on wordplay, popculture references and self-deprecating humor. Instead of the usual on-campus event stories, I would write film and restaurant reviews. I pitched any and every wacky idea I had, always following through. One week, I ate 100 percent vegan and talked about how it improved my bowel movements. The next, I described living out my childhood dream of seeing WWE live in-person. I loved it, got paid to do it and earned recognition amongst my peers, coworkers and even complete strangers.
Armed with the inflated sense of confidence only a sophomore in college can have, I decided I wanted to one day run the newspaper. “I want the keys to the kingdom,” I said to then Editor-in-Chief, Sophie Mattson. Lucky for me, she believed in my work.
My junior year, she hired me as Managing Editor, and this year I was fortunate enough to take over as Editor-in-Chief.
Being in charge brought me all of the power and creative freedom I could’ve wanted. But to be honest, it also brought me a lot of stress and self-doubt. Managing 30 employees and a $60,000 budget made me feel like I had imposter syndrome and I constantly wondered if my staff could spot the symptoms. I assume on many occasions they did, but perhaps were too polite to say anything. Regardless, I am blessed to have worked with such an incredible group of young men and women this year. Their above-and-beyond efforts of creative problem-solving and camaraderie was inspiring and validating. I am happy that many of them are returning to work next year, and with the inimitable Perla Luna as the new Editor-in-Chief, I have no doubt they will continue to put out a sleek, informative and entertaining publication.
Though I have no post-graduate plans to work in journalism (I plan to have a career in the film and television industry), I will never forget the lessons I learned in the newsroom— writing, editing and—most of all—collaboration. So to all The Santa Clara staff members, past and present, I say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Special thanks to my advisor Gordon Young and predecessor Sophie Mattson for mentoring me while I served as Editor-in-Chief. Finally, I wish to thank my older brother, John Flynn (who originally hired me and was my first editor), as well as professors Stephen Carroll, Brian Thorstenson and Michael Malone for teaching me how to write.
Looking back on my time at Santa Clara, I’ve come to the conclusion that all university students should do two things before they graduate. One, they should meet lots of interesting people from many diverse backgrounds. And two, they should figure out the person they want to be for the rest of their life. After four years, I’m lucky enough to have checked both boxes, and a large part of that is thanks to The Santa Clara.
I know the newspaper’s readership has never been very large, but if you took the time to read this or anything else I’ve written the past few years, I’d just like to say how much I appreciate your support. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.
Jimmy Flynn is a senior English major and creative writing minor and former Editor-in-Chief
Some guy once told me that college was about two things: meeting interesting people and finding out who you are. That guy happened to be my boss this quarter (ever heard of Jimmy Flynn?) and I feel the need to mention him because this article—my first and last ever—will sit right next to his this week and I want to impress him. It does seem a bit odd to me that I have never written an article for The Santa Clara and yet I’ve been a part of the newspaper staff for three years. But, here I am.
To me, the dark windowless newsroom in lower Benson has been a place of comfort and creativity. I have met some of the most entertaining, intelligent and opinionated people in this room. I am so grateful to have spent all of those late Wednesday nights with them.
I think one of the best parts about writing this article was the recognition that came after I worried about what to write. To be frank, I know that not many people read this newspaper. So honestly, it really doesn’t matter because this is all for myself and for any of the people who have been a part of The Santa Clara over the past three years: a nice thank you to anyone who does read the school newspaper.
There’s a beauty in that recognition because this represents how I have felt here at Santa Clara. What I say will matter to the people who want to listen. And going to college is meant to be (a bit) selfish. I have found comfort in my places here. My habitual spot in the library, my living room couch, the same weekly restaurant, a run to the rose garden—we all live in patterns and routines here and to me that is comfort.
I can’t take myself too seriously and it seems that my article is now heading in that direction. Time spent in the newsroom can never be taken too seriously or else your job literally consists of telling someone to add an em-dash or to rephrase a cutline. So instead, we discussed whether or not we should order Indian food for the fifth week in a row and decided who was the most broken. Anything past that includes secrets I can never tell.
I originally joined The Santa Clara during spring quarter of my freshman year because I wanted to do something other than be in a sorority. Sophomore year, I missed a number of sorority events on Wednesday nights because I would be in the newsroom from anywhere between midnight to 2 a.m. I loved walking home during the quiet of the night, a bystander to the leftover mayhem. And then I dropped my sorority and spent all my Wednesday nights happily ever after in the newsroom. The end.
That did happen and I am so grateful that from now on, the words “Wednesday night” will never be disconnected from a long table and printed copies of the paper because that’s where I met those interesting people I knew I would find at Santa Clara.
Kali Swindell is a senior psychology major and English minor and former Head Copy Editor.