COLUMN: New role like heading back to class

NANAIMO: Job leaves editor with butterflies of excitement.

I noticed the change in the air a few weeks ago.

The breeze from Mount Benson was cooler, the morning’s damp and the smell of dry vegetation wafting from the green spaces in the city.

It’s a change I notice every year and one I always equate with back to school.

I’m always nostalgic at the Labour Day long weekend, as kids – and parents – squeeze in the last moments of vacation before the grindstone starts spinning.

As a student, September was the true new year, the time for change and new goal setting, more so than Dec. 31. Heading to post-secondary institutions held their own magic, as each September you were one-step closer to that degree certificate and the career you studied so hard for.

Now, heading to a university in September is a special treat, bringing back happy memories of student life and learning. A special excitement exists on the campuses of colleges and universities, one that I never truly appreciated until I left.

But I guess that’s true of a lot of things.

Part of my nostalgia stems from a lifetime love of learning.

Reporting is a perfect career for me as I learn new things every day about current events, history and the people around me.

I sit in front of a computer, allowing me to instantly Google any topic that flits through my consciousness. It’s a blessing and a curse for anyone with a looming deadline.

These last few weeks, I feel a bit like I’ve gone back to school this year, too.

It’s been more than 10 years since I graduated with a degree in journalism and back then, becoming editor of a paper was an elusive, far-off goal.

I had it made when I was promoted to arts editor after spending two years on general assignment reporting – who wouldn’t want to interview and write about the most creative people in society?

The perks of free tickets didn’t hurt, either.

But even as arts editor, I still had my elbow on the news desk, picking up the odd story and participating in the News Bulletin’s editorial board, while keeping an eye out for potential stories.

I voraciously read a variety of news sources, from national papers to the celebrity gossip tabloids.

There’s no better feeling than seeing one of your colleagues nail an interview or ask the perfect question – when it happens, it feels like we all won.

Going into j-school all those years ago, I never expected to be the news junkie I am today. I just wanted to be able to do what I loved – writing – for a living.

In high school, I had an interest in the humanities, particularly history, and it was an astute guidance counsellor who steered me in the direction of journalism.

From what I learned from former editors and reporters who dropped by, e-mailed or called to express their support for me in my new role, ink never really leaves the blood.

I had the opportunity to work under two great editors, and be friends with more, so readers might only notice subtle differences over the next few weeks.

I’m proud of the newspaper we put out and intend to continue to focus on local people, places and events that make this city so wonderful.

Despite 10 years in this business, I’m still a bit of a booster – that wide-eyed, idealist that we all are as students.

I haven’t lost that, despite moments of frustration. I still think I can change the world.

So like new students, with backpacks slung full of books, looking up at an imposing institutional building, I have the same butterflies of excitement.

Each day is new and challenging, posing its own risks and rewards.

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