By Leah Devorak | Editor-in-Chief
For 20 minutes, I unsuccessfully wracked my brain for a quote from the first moment I walked into The Duke newsroom, the whole time wondering why I could think of nothing.
But then I remembered the actual moment I first arrived, and the reason for the blank was clear: When I first opened that decrepit, creaking white door and crossed the creepy threshold into 113 College Hall, nothing was said to me at all.
Nope. In a jam-packed room of about 20 kids, I didn’t even get a “hello.” I was simply ignored, the peasant freshman that I was, left to find my way to the weird table in the dark corner where my fellow new writers — as well as older sister, who had begged me to come save her — were congregated, copy editing as fast as they could in order to get out of there before their souls started to rot.
Yes, it was as cold and dead in there as the bitter January weather I had just escaped. But, as I was blindsided with the chance to take on the layout editor position a measly two weeks later — an offer I hesitatingly accepted — it was an atmosphere that I was forced to endure. Never love, oh no; just endure. And I was so happy when it changed.
Since that change, for which we can all thank former Editor-in-Chief Julian Routh, as well as the rest of the editors that year, The Duke has become my little home away from home, something I probably would have cried in horror over if I knew that walking in.
But now that thought brings utter joy to my heart. With an editor position, my time at Duquesne very quickly changed from simple classes followed by a brief battle in traffic to ridiculously hard classes bookended by publication days and endless hours in the newsroom, tightly bound with the constant fight to stay awake behind the wheel at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. as I drove home after all the madness.
But as crazy, ridiculous and tough as spending college like that sounds, I can wholeheartedly say it was one of the best decisions of my life.
Both fellow and former Duke editors and writers have become some of the best friends I will ever have. I mean, it’s not too often you get to spend almost every waking hour with people who also love office chair races, weird political videos, end of the year roasting sessions, mini basketball trick shot tournaments, TV studio séances and eating literally everything in sight. When you’re cooped up with folks like that, an unbreakable bond is bound to occur.
This paper has also led me on a journey to my future. Granted, I’m not heading off to some world-renowned publication thanks to always being on the more technical side of production, but I am heading off to an industry in which my heart and soul are fully invested. Journalism is now one of my only loves; it’s always been there for me, through the good and bad, the heartbreak and happiness, the sickness and health. My goodness, I’m practically married to it!
And that’s how I know it’s right for me. I also know it’s right for me thanks to the constant support and encouragement I’ve always had from the great staff members I’ve worked with, especially my sister, former Opinions Editor Rebekah Devorak. She’s the one who got me into writing in the first place, and I owe her my life for that.
Speaking of great, I also have to give a huge congratulations – as well as thank you — to this year’s editorial staff. Almost every single one of them was brand new to their position, yet they still somehow managed to put out clean, accurate issues bursting with content every single week. Readership was increased and more national news was made, and it was all due to their hard work and dedication to their jobs, despite the tougher times we so frequently faced.
Looking back at it all from start to now, The Duke has given me everything. From the thousands of jokes about me snorting coke (which I do not do!) to all those hot potates (no, not potatoes), I have about a billion and one memories from my time as an editor here that have made me the person I am today. I cherish every single one of them — even the award I received with nothing but a picture of my sister on it — and I know that, long after I graduate, a huge part of my heart will always be in that once-gray, now-blue newsroom.
I also know that, as I clean off the four years of clutter piled on my desk and step back through that slightly less creepy threshold of 113 College Hall, out the still decrepit, creaking white door, there will, once again, be no words said at all.