In my head, I’ve been planning my ‘goodbye’ to Wessex Scene for months now. I thought that I’d be able to write a real, articulate and tearjerking Ode to Student Media. However, now that the time has come for me, a writer, to finally put into words how much Wessex Scene means to me, I am left speechless – something which, for anyone who knows me, isn’t an easy feat.
I joined Wessex Scene back in the Stone Age of January 2016 at the Refreshers Bunfight (yes, people actually attend those). I was in the midst of a Law degree that I hated, a career path that looked less and less appealing and a pretty miserable existence. Life all in all seemed pretty grey. But then, I was naturally drawn to that same red that brought colour to not just my University experience, but my whole life.
Although I had always loved reading and writing, it had never occurred to me that I was good enough to write ‘journalistically’, and that people would actually care what I had to say. But then, when I sat down to write my first article, (I think it was on the International Day of Happiness, which was ironic to say the least), the words seemed to eloquently flow like nothing I had ever experienced before. I felt powerful. Before I knew it, I was suddenly hooked on writing.
I used to be quite a shy and introverted person, so the idea of being able to express my feelings on words on a whole platform was a completely foreign, mesmerising and liberating concept. When I was messaged about running for Opinion Editor in a poky corner of the Bencraft common room (those gross halls next to the crematorium), I think I literally jumped for joy. Wessex Scene seemed to see something in me that nobody else did, and the fact that this big, prestigious publication thought this awkward 19-year-old could do something with their life was probably the best moment of my life.
I changed my course to English, started researching careers into journalism and… well, the rest is history. Now, I sit here at the end of three years of committee and overall Editorship, which three years ago was nothing more than a brewing pipe dream.
But it isn’t all about me. Although Wessex Scene gave me confidence, purpose and a direction, I couldn’t possibly be where I am today without the support of some of the amazing people within the student media community (and beyond). So, please bear with me whilst I thank some people.
Freya Millard… thank you. Your drive, work ethic and compassion both during and beyond your Editorship has been instrumental in not just my own approach to this job, but to my own life philosophies. Without you, I’d never would’ve had the confidence to run for Editor.
Cameron Ridgeway… thank you. I’ll never forget the days of Avenue Café, Surge co-hosting and Facebook accounts dedicated to the sock you kept your phone in. Your words of gentle encouragement and friendship are something I will always cherish.
Megan Crossman… thank you. I really could not have asked for a better Deputy to share my time with. You always take everything in your stride are probably the most organised and put-together person I’ve ever met. You made more spreadsheets than I’ve had hot dinners, and it is no exaggeration to say that you’ve stopped Wessex Scene (and myself) from crumbling.
Avila Diana Chidume… thank you. From day one, you have been nothing but supportive of my decision to abandon you in Law (sorry) and take student media by the horns.
Sophie Peach… thank you. From Love Island apps, to TikToks and the dreaded beige, you actually managed to make InDesign fun?!
Nina Pannone… thank you. I’ve always admired your straight-talking, no-BS approach as well as your ability to find memes and GIFs that are scarily relatable.
Katy Davies… thank you. I always talk your ear off about Wessex Scene stuff you don’t really understand but you listen and take my side anyway.
Linnea Lagerstedt… thank you. You really helped me during some difficult times this year and I am beyond proud and excited for you to be taking the reigns as Editor.
Although this year for Wessex Scene has been stressful, difficult and sometimes impossible, we did it. I never want to hear the words ‘EGM’ or ‘copyright claim’ again in my life, but we did it. This year, Wessex Scene has truly reached new heights in news output, representation, collaboration and community. We’ve not only provided students with breaking stories and a platform to create, but also raised awareness of some vitally important issues, held powers to account and given aspiring journalists more support than ever through employability workshops and hosting the SPARC conference.
I am so unbelievably proud to be part of this amazing team. It has truly changed my life, and I will look back at my time as Editor with an unpalpable fondness. Wessex Scene has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible, and it is my wish that it will continue to reach out to, inspire and change the lives of students in the same way that it did me.
So, I guess this is the end of the line. I don’t quite know what the future holds for me, but what I am absolutely certain of is that I owe it all to this amazing publication.