Editorial: A year of unforgettable firsts 
When you reach the end of such a meaningful year in your life, the only thing left to do is to recount the memories, in hopes that they last forever.

Framed print issues covered the muted blue walls, worn slippers were tucked underneath the bookshelf, chewed-up pens filled the cup holders, poetry books lined the shelves, a near-empty bottle of whiskey huddled in the corner of our small kitchen—it was as if with each traversing editor, a relic was left behind. We looked at each other from behind our new desks, decades of history waiting for us to make our move, like spectators at a chess game. It was our first day in office, and we needed a strategy. But first, we desperately needed to redecorate. And so, we did. 

We had seen through archived photos that the space had changed throughout the years, but barely; most of the change seemed to involve a minor rearrangement of desks, as if the etiquette when visiting a friend’s home applied to The Medium’s office. Editors served for a short term of one to three years, so it made sense that our ancestors might have felt that way. Or maybe they were too busy to do a bit of decluttering. With a small team in charge of writing a rough draft of UTM’s history, they had every excuse. In any case, we were the new homeowners, the next generation, the torch-bearers, and we needed to make room for the present. 

When the sun went down and the parking lots emptied, we took walks through Erindale Park, two newly acquainted strangers, often discussing our hopes and fears about the year ahead. 

“Even if we’re the only ones reading the paper, everything we do is worth it,” Liz said, her Converse sneakers crunching against gravel. “Everything written will be in the archives forever, and future students will be able to look back and see what was happening this year. Our little legacy.” 

A few weeks later, in the scorching heat of the late August sun, we were skipping down the five-minute-walk at UTM, filled with excitement as we distributed the Summer issue. Freshly-cut grass tickled our nostrils, and eager froshies emerged from desolate halls, touring with their parents—familiarizing themselves with a campus they wouldn’t get to experience for another four months. Our wobbly cart, overflowing with boxes of the first newspaper of the year, barely fit through the doorframes. We didn’t know how many students would actually be on campus, but we still wanted to give them a warm welcome. And so, we did. Issue 0 was a precursor to Volume 48. Our team piled together “Hot vaxx summer” stories, “School survival guide: a froshie’s path to success,” “Summer hits of 2021,” articles on the reopening of campus, introduced many new columns, and we wrote our first editorial titled “The Medium Renaissance,” detailing the new initiatives we would put to action.  

A girl cruising through the CCT hallway stopped, only a few feet away from one of our newspaper stands, to reference a pamphlet that she held. In the spur of the moment, Elisa greeted the unfamiliar face. “Hi, I’m Elisa and this is Liz, the Editor-in-Chief at The Medium, UTM’s campus newspaper.” 

Knowing her selflessness meant she often forgot to properly introduce herself, Liz quickly interrupted, adding, “Elisa is our Managing Editor.” 

The girl’s mother listened to our pitch about getting involved in student journalism and flipped through the freshly-printed newspaper. “You know, my daughter is a really talented writer. She is going to be studying English and was involved with her writing clubs in high school. How perfect that you two happened to be here!”  

We thanked the pair for their time and continued to pull our cart to the next newspaper stand, a little taller in our walk, daydreaming about the new faces we’d meet and the stories we’d hear. It wasn’t until later in the year, after our first angry email from a writer who was shocked by the changes made to their article, that we would also feel the weight of our responsibility, and the frailty of our confidence when it was rooted in outcomes we couldn’t control. In those moments, we decided that the only thing we could do was to seek advice from past editors, make amends where possible, and continue to put our best foot forward. And so, we did. 

At our first team social in mid-September, we gathered for our first face-to-face pitch meeting at an outdoor table in Erindale Park. Joggers ran past with their dogs on a leash, kids chased each other in circles on the green lawn, and the sizzle of barbecued hamburgers and hotdogs wafted through the warm breeze. We introduced ourselves to each other, finally able to see the smiles that didn’t quite translate through a screen. With every laugh over Cards Against Humanity, a game we played as journalists off-the-clock, we realized that our team consisted of unique individuals that we had so much to learn from. This was before we’d get caught up in weekly tasks, and before the strain of working remotely would create communication barriers. It was a time when we could enjoy one of the most rewarding parts of our work—simply being a community. 

Our role was largely running the paper from behind our desks, but our community ran deeper than we realized. We were invited to visit the factory where our newspapers were printed from humming machines that reached from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, and that were managed by operators who had worked decades in the printing industry. “This is Mike,” Antonina told us, the owner of the printing company which was founded in 1991. “Every week he colour-corrects the newspaper before it’s sent to print. He’s a new grandfather, and always says how much he loves looking at your paper.” 

Antonina told us about her family’s business and the lurking politics between printing companies. It seemed like no matter where we went, quarrels were unavoidable, but so were long-lasting relationships. On our drive back to campus, we passed lush forests that bordered Mississauga Road. We recalled the editorials from past volumes of The Medium and the feuds that erupted, and dissipated, becoming another page in our archives. Now it was our chapter, and we hoped to achieve everything we set our minds to. And so, we did. The publishing year flew by, and we watched our team excel at everything they did, while simultaneously helping us grow as individuals. When you reach the end of such a meaningful year in your life, the only thing left to do is to recount the memories, in hopes that they last forever. 

Thank you to our friends and mentors, Ali Taha and Paula Cho, for your continued guidance and friendship. To past editors who continue to read the paper and remind us of our rich history, especially Robert Price and Luke Sawczak, thank you for being an email away whenever we needed you. To everyone on our editorial team this year—May Alsaigh, Aroni Sarkar, Ricardo Jaroslav Valdes, Danica Teng, Duaa Nasir, Hayden Mak, Nikolas Towsey, Manjot Pabla, Juliana Stacey, Miguel DaSilva, Belicia Chevolleau—and all our associates and correspondents, for your hard work, your honesty, and your patience. Thank you to all the writers who contributed insightful and intelligent articles to The Medium. Thank you to Antonina Morabito and the entire team at MasterWeb for your kindness and dedication in getting our newspapers printed weekly. Lastly, thank you to you, reader, for keeping us accountable, celebrating our achievements, and being the reason for this all. 

This was a year of many unforgettable ‘firsts’ for the both of us. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor at arguably the best (and only) independent newspaper at UTM. We hope that students will continue to use The Medium as a place to champion student stories. 

Editor-in-Chief (Volume 48 & 49) | editor@themedium.ca — Liz is completing a double major in Chemistry and Art History. She previously served as Features Editor for Volume 47, and Editor-in-Chief for Volume 48. Liz is extremely excited to have spent her time as an undergrad at The Medium, and can’t wait to inspire others and be inspired in her final year at UTM. When she’s not studying, working, writing, or editing countless articles, you can find her singing Motown hits at her piano, going on long walks by the lake, or listening to music. You can connect with Liz on her websiteInstagram, or LinkedIn.

Managing Editor (Volume 48) | managing@themedium.ca
Elisa graduated with a double major in Psychology and Professional Writing and Communication in 2021. She previously worked as Editor-in-Chief of Compass Volume 8. If you ask Elisa what she's passionate about, she'd reply, "I don't know. Everything, yet nothing, I guess." If you ask Elisa what she wants to be when she grows up, she'd reply, "I don't know. We'll see." Well, at least Elisa is confident about her love for The Medium. Her thirst to understand why things are the way they are means you'll probably find her immersed in books, film, and other modes of culture in her free time. Connect with Elisa on her website, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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