by Julian Fefer & Carrie Ryter, Editors in Chief
The first-ever line of “emails” reads: “We appreciate the trust you placed in us to edit your work, and we can’t wait to publish your article.”
Ten months, thousands of misplaced hyphens and a growing craving for oxford commas after we created “emails” — an aptly named document where we draft some Roar-related emails — a few months into my tenure as editor in chief, I look at the 55-page-and-growing holy scripture. Created in a late-night feat of procrastination and sustained by commitment to tradition, it houses the high points, the low points, the not-so-subtle hints of impostor syndrome, the love I feel for Roar.
With each new email, I’m hit with a heightened attachment to the email document and all it stands for — the perfectly organized disorganization of Roar — bringing with it a sense of responsibility to serve the creature I so vehemently — albeit illogically — revere.
Such is the essence of Roar. Each interview, each article, each editorial fills me not only with the same giddy excitement that I felt when I conducted my first interview in a secluded corner in the 9000s, but with a feeling of responsibility and dedication that pulls me deeper into the all-consuming clutches of Roar.
Staring at InDesign documents for so long that I see horizontal bright blue guidelines every time I close my eyes, I dedicate countless hours to creating a final product that best represents the hard work of our staff, and, in turn, I learn more about myself.
Experiences ranging from NSPA adventures down skyscraper-high escalators and into yearbook trivia with Blaze to middle-of-paste-up conversations about the horrors of running both Zoom and InDesign at once on the same computer have taught me that I thrive in an environment where work and fun intersect, where I’m so passionate about the work I’m doing that it becomes a fun respite from other responsibilities.
The newspapers scattered across the chaotic but peaceful room 1201 — and our SWAT-level emergency responses to Carrie’s daily spills — are a testament to our collaboration and teamwork, and I have learned that varied perspectives create a more complete whole, and collaboration yields a final product greater than any individual could ever achieve. On distribution day, I’m proud to twin sweatshirts with all our staff.
If I’ve learned one thing over the past four years, it’s that the Roar is a living entity; each member uniquely influences the path it takes.
Though Carrie and I have shared plenty of sappy conversations about what will happen to emails once we’re no longer on Roar — our more graphic predictions include “Last edited five years ago” — I am excited to see what path the Roar embarks on next.
A fresh eight pages and 15 emails into the email document, I can’t help but laugh. Somehow, I’m genuinely happy to spend my Saturday night donning my geeky journalism hat to craft notes to staff, peers and interviewees.
To scroll through “emails” is to stroll through a year of memories, of highs and lows and everything in between. It’s to see all the individuals — co-editors, reporters, interviewees and mentors — who draw from all corners of our community, each integral to Roar’s community and success. Somehow, crammed in one document, we have everything from formal emails to elected officials to delirious, satirical unsent emails written to imaginary friends after a few too many hours of editing.
Could we have made multiple documents, meticulously organized in folders within folders for every occasion and audience? Sure — in many ways, that would better align with my J tendencies (as classified by the MBTI) — but to do so would not be to authentically represent Roar, the stressful and freeing, the time-sucking and memory-making, the fights and bonds, the love and hate. Indeed, a true representation of Roar is all of these seemingly conflicting elements wrapped into one beautifully messy document, be it emails or an article, the product of countless people’s hard work.
At the beginning of the volume, anticipating (but of course not fully understanding) the tangible and interpersonal work ahead, I tried to set some semblance of a “work-life” balance for myself, notably attempting to restrict my Roar-related messages to fellow editors to Facebook Messenger and social ones to iMessages.
Yet, that lasted about five minutes because, unlike other activities, I could never quite compartmentalize Roar.
By nature, I like to have all of my work done before I relax. I soon learned, however, that to invest the hours necessary to write and lay pages with my head down and focused would be excruciating. Instead, I’ve found that a quick joke shared at paste-up or Buzzfeed Quiz Party break while writing an article are not only what have made me enjoy Roar, but have actively enhanced my Roar skills. The lines between responsibility and recreation became blurrier and blurrier, and I became happier and happier.
But Roar’s never been done, never something I could check off my to-do list; that’s what made it the highlight of my high school career, and that’s what makes the end of my tenure on Senior Staff particularly challenging.
Writing 55 pages of emails these past few months, we should have mastered the art of saying thank you. While we’ll never be able to thank The Roar for all it’s given us, we can thank all of you. In the spirit of that very first line: We appreciate the trust you placed in us to lead the paper, and we can’t wait to see where the paper goes next.