One of the only drawbacks to graduating a year early is I’m forced to say goodbye to everything a little too early. In addition to my friends, professors and home, I have to give an early farewell to The Mooring Mast. I started at The Mast my second year at Pacific Lutheran University, one of those students who’d never even opened a copy of the paper before.

I’ll never forget that first interest meeting I attended in fall 2012 — I entered late and spent a good hour trying to figure out what “A&E” stood for. I still remember the critiques I’d get back on my first few attempts at writing, a definite message I knew nothing about journalistic writing.  Little did I know that within a month I’d be reading every story three times before publication and then reading them all once more after we printed to check for any forgotten errors. After less than a month of writing about three articles per week, I became a copy editor.

Now, two years later, I’ve trained three copy editors and written countless more articles and columns. I’ve become so familiar with “The Associated Press Stylebook” that the updates or tips from the book’s Facebook page are major points of interest in my day. As senior copy editor, I have become more connected to campus life, learning about PLU-related news, arts and entertainment, business and opinions. Full disclosure, I still don’t really know much about PLU sports — sorry, Sam Horn.

My weeks run on Mast time. My first thought when I hear “Monday night” is: The Mast meeting. If it’s a Tuesday night, I think about how I’ll be editing well into the evening. Thursday evenings I know to distribute the paper, and the rest of my week is devoted to working on any articles I’m writing for the next week. For Wednesdays I know to never plan anything, because I’ll be camping out in the office editing, often for about 16 hours with a slight reprieve midday for my history capstone. Wednesdays are always a bit of blur: red pens, flats, InDesign issues, snacks, conversation, BuzzFeed quizzes and guaranteed laughter.

I may be afraid of the homework I haven’t finished once Wednesdays hit, but even essays with Thursday due dates staring me down can’t stop me from enjoying The Mast’s all-consuming production nights. Soon I’ll be leaving and feeling like an old veteran, even though my time here pales in comparison to some of the seniors graduating with me.

I don’t know what my PLU experience would have been without The Mast. Probably more restful, with fewer all-nighters, and I may have done all sorts of mysterious and exciting things on whatever normally happens on Wednesday nights.  But I would have never really gotten to know PLU as well as I did if I hadn’t worked for The Mast.  And for someone who is going to have to say goodbye to this school a year early in less than a month, that’s started to become a lot more important.

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