May 24, 2018

KELLER | Join The Sun

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Kurt Vonnegut once opined on The Sun’s role in his life saying,  “I was happiest when I was all alone — and it was very late at night, and I was walking up the hill after having helped put The Sun to bed.” After signing out the day’s pages and switching off the office lights I’ve done that walk and I know that hill. But I was never all alone.

I tend to rant about The Sun. I rant and argue about why The Sun matters — the crucial role it serves in holding Cornell’s administration accountable, telling important stories and uplifting a diverse array of voices. I fervently believe that more people should join The Sun, talk to The Sun and read The Sun every day. I also fervently believe that the ‘The’ before Sun should always be capitalized.

But I also believe that The Sun is special because of the people. Cornell offers students a dizzying array of clubs, resume boosters and pre-professional experiences. But I’ve found that it rarely offers real community. The kind of community forged among a group of people who all rant about why their work is important, because they truly believe in it. The people who work 40 hours a week for the impressive salary of $0 per month plus five nasty correction emails.

I often hear experienced students and faculty members advising those new to Cornell to “not be afraid to try something new.” Fine advice, but I’d offer a modification. Try something new but also try diving into something deeply. Stay, even when it’s hard and not very fun and you call your parents saying that you’re not sure you’ll ever find your place on a campus that can feel so big.

Join The Sun, trek to the Commons, learn to edit out Oxford commas. Tentatively say hi to the editor next to you and get pizza together, rather than five minutes apart. Wonder if the girl in the Seahawks jersey might become a friend, because this seems like the kind of place where people make good friends?

Stay for the late nights, the candy drawer and the moment when you walk, bleary eyed into a dining hall the next morning and see someone reading the front page headline you wrote at 2 a.m. Join The Sun, talk to The Sun, read The Sun every day. It is a truly vital part of our campus and we all underestimate its power to shape conversation and challenge authority.

But you can also join it because you feel “all alone.” I graduate Cornell deeply thankful for what The Sun did in my life — for giving me writing skills, leadership experience and great stories to tell in interviews. But I’ll always be the most grateful for those late night walks up the hill because they were so full of laughter and joy.

Phoebe Keller is graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences. She served as managing editor on the 134th editorial board, and as an assistant news editor on the 133rd editorial board.