I’ve been dreading writing this one.
Mostly because by putting it off it was almost like putting off actually ending my time at Empire Times. As you may know (if you read my editorials), I’ll be (hopefully) handing in my honours thesis next month and essentially graduating, thus ending my student status. As such my replacement has now been chosen and the upcoming Issue 5 is my last.
I started at ET last year with Issue 5, and it was truly a trial by fire. As amazing as Jess and Laura were in helping catch me up on everything I needed to know for the job, it was still tough. I had no formal training. I had to ask how to turn on my Mac (I kid you not). But my team were patient and helpful and I never could have made it through that first issue without being surrounded by such experience. Of course the role proved far more intensive than I realized and I had to functionally go part-time for my course load (any Editor who doesn’t drop back on their course load is probably some sort of workaholic robot). This worked out for the best, especially because it allowed me to stick around ET for longer, while avoiding a stress-related breakdown and becoming an office hermit.
These past 13 or so months have been truly amazing. I’ve done so many things, been so many places, and met so many people whom I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet if it weren’t for this job. I’ve conducted interviews, discovered the horrors of transcribing said interviews, learned how to use Macs and their Adobe software (don’t worry, I’m still not a convert), learned how to network and make small-talk at conferences, spoken to my idols (even if Nat Tran never did get back to me about that interview…) and most importantly just had a whole lot of fun.
The friendships I’ve gained through working here are truly special. I’m definitely going to miss coming in every day to the office and spending hours nerding-out about Star Wars with Liam and Eleanor, our numerous feminist discussions and coffee consumption. I’m going to miss the dramatic rollercoaster that is working along side Student Council (or rather sitting back and eagerly writing about everything interesting that happens, on the infrequent occasion that it does). I’ll miss wandering around campus and seeing people just casually reading copies of ET, or telling me “I like to collect every issue”. I’ll always remember that one time someone on a dating app recognized me as one of the ET Editors—that was certainly strange (but obviously not the strangest thing I’ve seen there).
What I’ll most remember though is the feeling of finding new talent, and helping those little fledglings grow into more confident, passionate writers. Previous editors have said it, but it deserves repeating. Student magazines are often the first publishing opportunity young people have, and their first experience seeing their words in print can certainly be a special one. I’ll always remember fondly the first time I was published in ET, and now having been on the other side of the printing press I can appreciate how amazing it feels to give other people that same opportunity, and see them beam with pride as they post photos of their pages that you designed to their social media. I look forward to the day where I start to recognize the names of my contributors on big name media outlets. (I don’t have a kid so I don’t want to claim it’s just like parenting, but I imagine it would be just like seeing your kid graduate from Oxbridge.)
But while I am functionally leaving the editing team, I feel like I’m not truly gone for good. As cheesy as it sounds, working for ET puts you amongst a truly unique cohort. Now in its 43rd year, ET has a fair amount of history, and a lot of people who have fond memories of the mag from their student days. I’ve been contacted by several people who edited ET decades ago, who’ve picked up a copy just to see what’s happening and are thrilled with all the developments (colour printing for one). And even outside ET, there’s a whole community of current and ex-student media people, all with similar experiences and stories of late nights, printing mishaps and meddling student politicians. Thanks to Facebook it’s easier than ever to share your stories and network—which is especially important if you want a career in the industry. Publishing and the Media are definitely built on nepotism. ;)
Simone Corletto, 24, Bachelor of Creative Arts Honours (Creative Writing)
If Simone could do it all again, she definitely would.