“So, what are we thinking about for this week?”
The group pulls chairs over to the circular table, creating a cozy, tight-knit huddle. Everyone shuts their laptops in unison, closing open tabs and X-ing out of whatever assignments they were previously working on.
Editing articles, reading chapters for class, studying for exams.
While other assignments are undoubtedly more urgent, they are briefly put on hold. Though it’s unspoken, the group knows that the semi-weekly Brown and White editorial board meetings deserve undivided attention.
“Maybe something about the Supreme Court hearing?”
“Winter break is coming up, but the workload is still pretty heavy. We should do something about the impact of stress on students’ mental health.”
“But did you all see that scandal on Twitter yesterday? That’s pretty timely.”
Ideas are thrown out, some trashed quickly and others considered more seriously. Once we decide on a topic, an open discussion ensues. All editors on the board, regardless of their position on the paper, are invited to share their thoughts and perspectives.
Whether it be something light-hearted, like how to avoid awkward Thanksgiving conversations, or something more pertinent, like the implications of eliminating affirmative action, everyone usually has something to say.
And everyone else is eager to hear it.
Once the conversation ends, I am left with a list of discombobulated and somewhat nonsensical notes. Scattered typos, unevenly spaced words and red dotted lines fill my screen.
Many times, my disheveled bullets contain viewpoints I had hardly considered just an hour prior.
Our collective stance is transcribed, the summary of our lengthy discussion whittled down into a mid-length article. The final piece is published in print, accompanied by quaint, italicized letters reading The Brown and White Editorial Board.
Sure, the 700 or so words are the final product.
Written, edited and fine-tuned, the completed piece acts as a tangible, condensed reflection of our conversation. Those published paragraphs are ultimately what is being consumed by our readers, displayed for public scrutiny.
Looking back on these nights in the newsroom, though, I can hardly remember the various editorials I wrote. I couldn’t tell you most of the topics off the top of my head, and I would struggle to recall any of the titles.
That’s because it’s not the final product I remember — it’s the process of getting there.
It’s not often in life that we are encouraged to have open discourses or are given a judgment-free zone to express our own unique — and sometimes conflicting — opinions.
While our goal as an editorial board is to create a piece of writing representative of our collective views, the journey getting to that point is much more worthwhile.
We do start out each meeting discussing newspaper content, diving into the various angles we could take on a given idea. However, the conversation eventually drifts toward something slightly off-topic, then something even less relevant, and soon we are watching TikToks and laughing so hard we can barely speak.
And that’s usually the best part.
The college experience can be viewed with a similar lens.
We all go in with an end goal, whether that be to simply pursue our interests or to gather the resources necessary to attain our dream careers. We take a variety of classes intended to help us accomplish that goal, and we work our hardest to achieve it.
Yet if you think back to your favorite course at Lehigh, you likely don’t remember the specific papers you wrote or the exams you took. You probably remember the class discussions and interactions with your professors and peers.
Though it may come across embarrassingly cliché, the end result isn’t all that matters. It’s typically the process that we will remember and the relationships we make along the way that will stick with us long after the paper is printed.