Sometimes, one of the toughest challenges in life is knowing when to stop. When is the right moment, when you’re doing something you love, to bow out? I’ve been at The Boar for ten years, and although I’ve talked about it for ages, I’ve been feeling for the past few months that I’m nearing the end of my journey – it’s finally time for me to leave. Internally, I feel ready and right, and it’s been wonderful to go out on my own terms. And that’s brought us to here, my final piece ever. As I put together a final article, it feels apt to wrap up on a reflection – of my time here with the society, and my thoughts for the future.
I joined The Boar in 2013, in response to a call for cartoonists for the Comment section. The editor, the superb Hiran (who became EIC), encouraged me to spread my wings and try writing – I never believed I could, but I gave it a go. I wrote more, and then the amazing Lifestyle Editor Bethan and her deputy Lizzi invited me to a charity social – from them, I fell in love with the society, and kept trying to do more and more, eventually pushing myself to do the Whole Hog challenge of writing for every section.
Carmella, a former TV Editor, once referred to me as a mascot for the paper, and used to joke that I’d lose the magic if I ever actually joined the exec. But, on my year abroad, I was tempted, not wanting to miss the chance on what I thought would be my final year – I ran from abroad, and became TV Editor 2017-18. It was a tough time, as the section was not in a good place, but it came back to life and thrived, thanks in no small part to my fantastic deputies Gezy and Nishat (both of whom went on to become brilliant section editors in their own right). It was a great exec, led by the talented Cameron and Clara, and I loved hanging out with my amazing fellow editors – Branca, Stanley and Chiara, Dan and Sarah, Amy, Giles and Tiff, Zoë, and the list goes on.
From then on, I was on exec in some capacity or another – every time I said I would stop, I found I had more to give. I kept coming back as a sub-editor, and then I became Chief Sub-Editor in the year that Covid shut down the world. And, of course, I kept writing, firing off piece after piece and offering support and guidance to many editors and new writers, many of whom I’m so glad to now count as friends. Somehow, we kept things on the road and then some, and I think it’s no understatement to say that the Boar was essential for so many students and staff at a terrifying time.
In my actual final year, there was one last temptation – there was a call to help revitalise the Games section, with a window of about four months. It was the end of my thesis, and I fancied a challenge. I became the Games Editor, and incredibly, made Games one of the most active sections in the paper. I was so fortunate to have a phenomenal team at my back, who made running the section run and who are just lovely friends – Saud (who will thrive as the new Games Editor), Ethan, and our superb sub-editor Jennifer (the much-deserved recipient of an Outstanding Commitment award).
I don’t want to dwell too much on the numbers, but if I’m reflecting on my time in this society, it would be wrong not to. Frankly, I was stunned at just how many records I hold for this paper – most obviously, my incredible (especially to me) tally of 2,038 articles (including this one). I couldn’t believe I made it to 1,000, let alone two – it’s a record for the paper, yes, but also a record nationally among student publications. One of the questions I’m often asked is how I write so much, and I don’t really know – it’s honestly just a matter of turning them out, and it becomes easier the more you do, like a muscle or reflex that needs training and exercise. It’s bizarre to write, but I was only a serious writer after a few years, so when I look at my number, I genuinely think I’ve underachieved (don’t hit me for saying that).
There are more numbers than just articles, though. I hold the record for the most articles written for a single section (I’m wrapping up with 433 Sport articles). I’ve been on exec for six years, holding seven different roles (including being Sport sub four times for a run of great editors – Luke (with Jana), Mitchell, Sam, and now James). I’m the record holder for the Boar Awards, both for nominations (20) and wins (nine), and humbled that the Lifetime Achievement award is actually named after me. About the only area I’m lacking is the SPAs, the pride of student journalism nationally – it took me ten years to pick up my first nomination, Outstanding Commitment among a selection of fantastic nominees, but I didn’t come home with the prize. Can’t win them all, I suppose!
I’m proud of these accomplishments, and it’s fantastic to be the current holder of these records (I say current, because all records are made to be broken, and I’m excited to see the journalists who break them). But there are other numbers that, to my mind, matter far more. I know some of them – the three kisses I’ve had, for instance. Others, I don’t, but I wish I did. The number of people who’ve read one of my pieces. The editors I’ve written for, the people I’ve trained, and the people who’ve helped me develop as a writer and a person. The friends I’ve made (I wish I could have name-checked everyone, but then this piece would be thousands of words of just names). The experiences I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy because of the doors this society has opened.
Because, although The Boar is known as a newspaper, it’s also a society, and it’s truly one of the nicest ones you could hope to join. There are so many wonderful social activities, so many opportunities to just sit in the office or around campus, spending time with other members of the society and sharing laughs and stories. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a business brain, a photographer, or if you just want people to hang around with – the Boar provides all of that and more.
This is it – the final paragraph of my final piece. There’s often a joke that, once I stop, the paper will collapse, such is my output. But that couldn’t be further from the truth – in my ten years, this society has attracted so many incredible, talented and good people, and it will continue to do so once I’m gone. I’ve seen it thrive through so many challenges, from money issues to Covid, and it always comes out swinging. And that’s because of the people, no doubt – amazing people who’ve come and gone, who are here as I write, and those who will be the future. I can’t wait to see what comes next, and where the Boar will go next.
Sincerely, thank you – it’s been incredible.