Senior year is canonical. You have the senior slide, the cataclysmic breakdown of some friend groups, and the forging of new bonds that feel like they could last forever. A deluge of camaraderie and legally purchased liquor can melt some (but not all) of the grudges powered by the treacherous climb of student leadership and, of course, the toxic gossip train. But for me, senior year mostly means one thing: I’m not the young talent anymore.
I remember when Arielle (print czarina, strommy to my straddy, pictured below) and I were christened as such. It would’ve been the fall of 2021—our first semester as editors—and then–EIC Beatrice Forman who remarked that we were the babies of the room. But we weren’t the “frosh”; we were the new blood, the wunderkinder, the youth voice.
Back then I would’ve told you that Bea wasn’t being serious, but Arielle and I took that mantle to heart anyway. When we banged out our letters of intent in a high rise lounge, blasting “Goodbye Horses” on repeat, we were the young talent. And when we assumed our place at the helm of this magazine last December, it was the young talent takeover.
And now that I’m in her shoes, I know exactly what Bea was doing. In the following years, I’ve seen the faces of many soon–to–be successors light up with the same expression that I’m sure crossed mine, when a peer they admired lit up something in their brain: an expansion of the possibilities you envision for yourself. It wouldn’t be crazy to say that Bea’s casual tidbit of praise is the reason I get to be here writing this letter at all.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy. When I depart my position in a couple of months, how will the quality of my tenure be judged? Through the issues we’ve published, or the Instagram followers we’ve gained? Personally, I hope that the best testament to the work I’ve done will be the Strexec board that succeeds me. Because yes, Street is a real magazine, and we treat ourselves as such, but we’re first and foremost a teaching publication.
In this issue of 34th Street, we talk about the educations that our colleges don’t give us. Of our pair of features, one details a fraught merger between two local universities that’s left students feeling robbed of their degree, while the other shines a spotlight on Penn undergrads trying to fill a gap in their own college’s curriculum.
Another gap in Penn’s major offerings: journalism, which is why you’ll often hear the DP referred to as the University’s “unofficial journalism school.” I learned how to become a writer and editor here, and for a long time I got to feel comfortable being the student. But now I’m the older generation; I’ve become the teacher. People even email me as “Mr. Green,” double–checking to make sure that I’ve received their applications to write for us.
Part of me loves when they double–check, because it makes me feel like I’m doing my job right. I want Street to be a place where people want to be, where a new generation of young talent can grow up until they’re old and washed up (but in a good way), just like me.