Year in review: Ad manager reflects on year like no other

Griffin Sendek | Multimedia Editor. Duke staff gathers in the newsroom after attending mass at the Duquesne Chapel in March 2020.

Carissa Haslam | Ad Manager


If you added it all up, I’ve probably spent a fairly significant amount of my time at Duquesne complaining about College Hall.

Back in the days of in-person class, most of my classes took place in College Hall. Plus, I’ve attended countless meetings there and spent far too many hours in the Media Department computer labs dispersed throughout the building. Consequently, I’d spend a lot of time complaining about its lack of water fountains, the faint old person smell, the confusing room numbering and its cave-like windowless design.

But during my senior year, I found that buried in the basement of College Hall is one of the most magical places on Duquesne’s campus: College Hall 113.

It too lacks windows and has a peculiar smell — most likely due to the mysterious and ancient fridge that’s tucked in the corner — but it also contains thousands of beloved memories from the years of student journalists who’ve called it home. It will forever be a privilege that College Hall 113 now holds my beloved memories as well.

It took three years of hearing my best friend and roommate, Katia, talk about the newsroom like it was some mystical place full of joy for me to apply to be on staff at The Duke. I’m not a journalism major and I had in fact never sold an ad before this year. But my year here has taught me that going outside of your comfort zone has major benefits. In this case, I’ve had the benefit of working with some of the coolest people on campus and getting to play a small part in helping create something meaningful every single week.

Kellen Stepler | Editor-in-Chief. Staff members Carissa Haslam and Katia Faroun.

I now understand why Katia was so happy about spending 12 hours every Wednesday in the basement.

I’m immensely grateful to the Duke staff for welcoming this fake journalist onto the team and making me feel like I belonged — even though I still don’t know much about AP Style. I will cherish every super late night, every inside joke, every fancy dinner meeting over Chick-fil-A and every popcorn copy-editing session we’ve shared inside pastel blue walls of College Hall 113.

To my fellow Duke staff: I’m so proud of the work we’ve done this year and I hope you are too. I’m excited to watch you all go off into the world and become the most bad-ass “big J journalists” the world has ever seen.

It seems that in 20 years what I’ll remember about College Hall isn’t its weird smell or its major design flaws — it’s the magic of Room 113 and the beautiful people who created it.