July 20, 2018 | ° F

Joining Targum not inconceivable

The first time I opened the pages of The Daily Targum, I was standing outside the Livingston Student Center on the very first day of my college career trying to figure out what exactly a "REXL" was — a dinosaur or a form of transportation? As a lowly first-year student leafing through the pages of the Targum I have to say — I was impressed. Coming in as the Editor-in-Chief of my high school newspaper that had barely enough content or staff to squeeze out an issue every couple of months, let alone every day, the thought of a daily newspaper was as they say in "The Princess Bride," inconceivable!

Hungry to learn more, I ventured to the Targum office. Who were the students who put together the paper? Did they see the light of day? Did they even go to class? Do they have friends? For God's sake, do they have superhuman powers?

When I walked into the editorial office for the first time I quickly became overwhelmed at the sight of students packed into a tiny room with their Mac computers seemingly piled right on top of one another, wolfing down takeout food and screaming inside jokes across the room. Needless to say, I was intimidated and frightened. Since joining the Targum this sentiment has been echoed back to me by staff that joined both before and after me.

As an outgoing editor, I can now answer all of the above and I can tell you this — we're just regular students like everyone else. No, we don't really see the light of day because there is only one window in our office and it's blocked by some cage-like material. Yes, many of us come from every major imaginable and are exceptional students. Yes, we do have time for a social life and many of your colleagues quickly become your friends. No, we don't have special powers other than the ability to consume massive amounts of food from Hansel 'n Griddle and to put together a paper for the next day when half the writers don't turn in their articles.

Needless to say, I eventually got over my fear of the Targumites and over the years worked my way up from contributing writer to staff writer to correspondent to metro editor. I encourage any student with even a minute interest in writing for the Targum, regardless of your major, to come in and start writing. The Targum does not belong to solely the editors or the student organizations that we write about — it's yours too. Everyone should have a stake in the Targum, whether you're reporting for us, advertising in it, filling out the crosswords, reading it on the bus, writing in a letter to complain about us, etc. All are welcomed.

In about three months, I will be passing through the gates of Old Queens as a part of the last class of Rutgers College, and if there's any word of advice I can pass on to underclassmen it is this — get involved in anything! Whether you decide to join a fraternity or sorority, get an internship, become a research assistant or start up a new club, excel at whatever you choose. We're only doled a certain amount of time here and before you know it, it will be over. Make sure by the time you're a senior you'll have something to show for it other than the freshman 15.

I never would have thought I would wind up getting as involved as I did, and looking back, it has been an incredible learning experience. I'm proud to say that the people who started out as acquaintances then became my coworkers and now are my friends.

To all of the 141st, it's been a pleasure. The Targum has a way of producing some journalistic greats and I know all of you will go on to future success. I truly appreciate having the opportunity to be your colleague and your friend. Thank you for making me laugh until I cried and pushing me far beyond what I ever thought I was capable of.

To John, thank you for standing in as my mentor when my predecessor left, for answering all of my questions, for standing behind me when I needed you and for being the best Editor-in-Chief you could have been.

To the ladies of Targum — Ange, Cait, Adrienne, Amanda, Lauren and Megan: I love you all! Let's finally spend time together outside of 26 Mine.

To sports, you closed the pizza better than anyone ever could have. To Andrew and Dan, thanks for teaching me a thing or two about taking photos. "There's no such thing as bad photos, only bad photographers." To Matt Steele, thank you for providing hilarious Twitter and wall quote material. To online, thank you for posting for me when I forgot (sorry!) and to Amos, so glad I got the chance to get to know you more last semester!

To Charlie, even though you left early, some of the best times I had in the office were with you. Thanks for keeping me entertained with the "news lead of the week" and our nerdy banter. I was saddened this semester and last to look over at the desk next to me and see an empty chair. Cheers to all the good times, see you in class.

To Mary and Ariel, I'm so proud of both of you. I feel like I raised you two from the Metro desk and now you've both surpassed me! I've watched both of you progress so much in only a year. I know you will both do great and will set the foundation of the paper for years to come.

To the 142nd, after spending 14-plus hours with you in Caucus, I'm disappointed that I won't get a chance to get to know all of you better. You're all extremely talented at what you do and I wish you the best of luck. While the Targum can be an animal of its own, never forget why you are there. I know all of you truly care about the integrity and the legacy of the paper or you wouldn't have made it to the masthead.

Heather Brookhart is a Rutgers College senior majoring in journalism and media studies with a minor in Spanish. She is the outgoing metro editor. Her love for pickles may never be explained, but she will always be remembered as the "irresponsible journalist" who wouldn't be bullied by Adam Richman. She was, after all, the one who broke the epic story of his failure to conquer the Rutgers fat sandwich. No worries, Heather, we got your back, and so does Miley.

Heather Brookhart

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