Joseph Abrams ‘23
Editor In Chief
It’s often hard for us to imagine goals that aren’t self-serving, to recognize that the small victories we make for ourselves contribute to a larger victory for something much bigger. When we aren’t trying to acquire a new skill, add a new bullet point to our resume, or gain a local sense of notoriety, we often seek the path of least resistance from one situation, or problem, to the next. Such is the nature of the cycle of ever-churning days, weeks, months, and years in our fast-tracked lives. Papers that were once pored over and ceaselessly scrutinized gradually became hopeful shots in the dark— not meticulously crafted but simply “good enough”. Our relationships with each other can often suffer the same fate: glued together poorly and partially defrosted only when convenience requires it. This sense of disconnection will surely continue to manifest itself as our years and experiences accumulate. Jobs are applied to, performed for, and accepted simply as a means to keep this life machine moving. Infrequent moments of reflection only last long enough as to not break that threshold where the truth bares itself abrasively and our comfort in movement becomes a feeling more akin to suffocation.
Yet beyond those small movements is a much larger world where the things that we do have real meaning. It’s disappointing that many of us never see the true fruits of our labors outside of a test grade or a paycheck, but to disregard these fruits entirely is illusory. Your analysis of political science, your aptitude at economics, and your incessant calls for students to join an otherwise unpopular club are all centers of influence themselves: you influence your peers subconsciously and you influence the ways in which your future self will influence again. Doing things simply to finish this step and move onto the next may represent the normative social construction of our society, but its subconscious implications are not to be disregarded.
My years at The Spire have implanted themselves as the most profound example of this phenomenon. When I first arrived at The Spire, two semesters of COVID-19 disruption had paved the way, at least in my mind, for future semesters of passive interest and “getting by.” My lack of a chosen major or minor, and therefore academic interest, also produced and was a product of this mindset. I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that my earliest articles at the Spire were not unfortunate byproducts of this. But even in my burgeoning weeks at the Spire, I was immediately drawn by the sheer willpower of all involved. As a student unaffiliated with the newspaper, it can be easy to get accustomed to the newspaper being on your Cool Beans table every morning without thought for the complex processes behind it. And those processes are indeed hard and complex, as I’ve come to learn through the various different parts I’ve played here. All puzzle pieces must fit perfectly in place each week in order for the paper to come out smoothly each Friday, and moments of distress, miscommunication, and discontent can peak with thoughts of “does anyone even read this?”
It is in those moments exactly, however, that our actions represent something much larger than ourselves. To write an article about Bagel Wednesday’s at Campion, to upload it, and to publish it as part of a much bigger editorial presence is not something that may seem inherently useful, but it is done, not simply to have done it, but for the sake of “doing.” To say something, or to simply put words on paper, is productive, perhaps not practically, but in its exercise of expression. What may sometimes seem to be a needless regurgitation of information for a small, inactive audience is instead an opportunity to do something. All too often, in contemporary society, there is an aversion to simply trying. To be vulnerable and put yourself out there is something frowned upon and embarrassing, and from the perspective of the “doer” feels a bit like “doing too much”. The Spire has taught me, however, that there is not only no shame in occupying a space and performing in it, but that such an exercise is essential in knowing ourselves and the position we wish to fill.
In doing so, we have produced a lot of truly impressive material. In moments when I had lost faith in the point of doing this weekly work, my friends here have reminded me, often through an unconscious dedication to integrity and a professional finished product, that doing, simply for the point of doing, is just enough. At Holy Cross we appreciate the often disparaged value of a liberal arts education: where students at other universities look disapprovingly at our list of common area requirements, the emphasis on critical thinking, and the idea of holistic learning, we are grateful for it. But this education encourages opportunities just like The Spire, ones that prioritize extending one’s self for the sake of expression and personal cultivation. As I trudge along in my final weeks of school and substitute the painful full-look backwards for a less existentially depressing half-look back, I truly feel grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from this publication. It has not only been the birthplace of my own journalistic career, but the catalyst for a world-view in which cultivating yourself is productive enough. I have no doubt that the paper will thrive under next year’s leaders: Julianna Mariani ‘24, the best Co-Editor in Chief a Chief News Editor could ask for and Nathan Howard ‘25, my personal protégé and the best reporter the political science department has to offer. A huge thanks to Michael O’Brien and Grace Bromage, the team that I know my professional colleagues will never hope to beat.
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