I’ve heard it said that we are the summary of our experiences. I can honestly say that writing for The Wanderer Online has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in University. It has opened doors for me that I had never imagined I held the keys to, it has taught me so much about myself and my communities, it has given me the space to challenge my beliefs and it has allowed me to roll up my sleeves and help to build my community, my University, my city, my province, and my country.
In August 2012 I came home after a summer spent volunteering in Southeast Asia and was asked by a friend who I had added on Facebook because of mutual friends, to write for this online blog that he had started with his friends. I wanted to be authentic so I wrote an article about my own difficult experiences with mental health and fitness. The article was posted, became a hit, and was the first domino in a long chain of events that brings me to this point in my life. The Wanderer was (and still is) something different.
I was working four jobs when I first started writing and found it difficult to find a place where I belonged on campus because I was too busy trying to stay afloat to join clubs. At The Wanderer I found friends, friends who I to this day admire and have the utmost respect for. I was always encouraged, from day one, to chase any dreams I had for writing with the magazine, no matter how big, and I was assured that there would be a team along with me. So I started to dream bigger. It’s incredible how opening one door can lead to an entire hallway of doors you never imagined. I interviewed leaders from iconic arts institutions around the city for the Arts Visionaries in Edmonton series, I wrote 50 First Dates in #yeg, and I started the Spotlight in Small Business Series, yet I did not do a single one of these projects alone; I worked with a huge supportive team of writers, of Editors, of photographers, amazing, committed, visionary, driven, volunteer, students.
This city is incredible. Where else can a third year English/Political Science student sit down and interview their mayor (in a city of nearly a million) for 45 minutes? Where else can a group of students approach their city’s business leaders and propose a never before done project to recognise female business leaders in for-profit and not-for-profit and be welcomed with open arms? Where else can a group of four University students (Emerson Csorba, Dongwoo Kim, Sansitny Ruth, and Sydney Rudko) come up with the crazy idea to start an online publication and have it become a household name for students and Edmontonians in less than two years, with a strong team of over 70 volunteer writers and 20 volunteer editors? Edmonton. That’s where.
You, our readers, have come to expect great things from The Wanderer and that is a reputation built on the backs of incredible writers driven by their desire to share ideas and inspire others. It’s time to get nostalgic. Our writers have: Encouraged us to be more sci-fi, made us think critically about politics and history, interviewed local artists, explained tornadoes, commented on American politics, expressed their love of the olympics, and shared their personal experiences with gender norms and labels. The Wanderer team has: transported us to Washington, DC, advised us on our wardrobe, reviewed festivals, introduced us to beautiful local jewellery, given us sex advice, and told us what being at the University meant to them. There have also been amazing projects which taught us: why we need feminism, how incredible Edmonton’s educators are, and, not to forget, how many outstanding undergraduates there are at the UofA (a colossal project to say the least.) All of our material has looked effortlessly clean and beautiful but that is thanks to hours of tireless work on the part of our incredible design and photography team led by Katrina Regino and Skye Oleson-Cormack (respectively). Last but not least, our Editor-in-Chief, Emerson Csorba, has written eloquent and honest articles for the last two years, and, more importantly, has led The Wanderer with a zeal unmatched by most in our community. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the work of dozens of hard working editors, writers, designers, photographers, and a driven Editor-in-Chief.
This magazine has been one of the most thrilling and challenging experiences of my life and I am so grateful to be stepping into the shoes of Editor-in-Cheif behind my dear friend and colleague Emerson Csorba. The things that I have done, the articles I have read, the projects I have started at The Wanderer have never failed to make me laugh, to make me cry, to make me question my own beliefs, and if you, yes you, scrolling through these articles, will join me, we can make this third year at The Wanderer truly great. I hope that I can continue to be amazed and challenged by the work of my peers, and that I can lead this remarkable initiative with the same tenacity and enthusiasm as my colleagues who came before me.
We live in an amazing city and I am amazed every day that we, in our small part, at The Wanderer, contribute to that greatness. I can’t wait to embark on another year of thought-provoking articles, community-building projects, and shamelessly fun teamwork with The Wanderer. Thank you, all of you: the writer, the editor, the designer, the photographer, the business owner, the community leader, the politician, the accidental blog explorer, the internet traveler, the student, the teacher. Cheers. This one’s for you.
CC Photo courtesy of IndustrialAndrew on Flickr