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Leaving UMass doesn’t mean leaving behind the memories

Courtesy+of+Irina+Costache

Courtesy of Irina Costache

By Irina Costache, Assistant News Editor

I have always been awful at endings.

My first love was writing, and as a child, I spent countless hours drafting stories and poems, meticulously perfecting my character names and story arcs. Yet, as has become a running joke in my family, I was rarely ever able to finish a story. Before I got to the ending, I would be pulled towards a new idea that I would focus on for a little while until the cycle repeated again.

Yet, in my four years at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, I finished more stories than I ever expected to when I joined during the first week of freshman year. Because of the Collegian, I have gotten to tell the stories of students working on sustainable farming, operating small businesses and promoting mental health. I have also shared stories of students advocating for issues of social justice, the challenges of being a worker on campus, uncovered important parts of our University’s history and reported on a pandemic. Candidly, throughout my time writing, I have found myself struggling to tell these stories, not knowing how I could do justice to my sources’ personal experiences in a 700-word story.

In my time at the Collegian, I tried to start conversations in our newsroom about diversity, equity and inclusion, forming a committee that would help center these values. I was so blown away by the level of engagement and support that the committee received from staff, and am so grateful for everyone who was willing to be open and vulnerable in those conversations.

Throughout both being a news reporter and starting the DEI committee, I learned that there aren’t truly “endings” at all, at least not in the ways that we are taught to think of them. I cannot count the number of times that I have written a story only for new updates to come out days later that need to be added. Conversations around equity and justice are never done, but we rather need a lifelong push to do a little better each day. Life is a constant state of learning and growing, and we never know when the people and things we love will re-enter our lives.

The stories we share and the people we have the privilege of meeting stay with us forever. Though I might be physically “done” at UMass and the Collegian, I am never going to leave behind the memories and moments of friendship and genuine camaraderie I have been a part of. I am so lucky to know a group of people that cherishes each other’s wins so deeply. Everyone that has taken the time to let me interview them imparted a small bit of wisdom that broadened my perspectives and made me a more compassionate and empathetic person. I wish I could thank everyone individually, but just know that I am grateful to every single person I have been so lucky to work with at the Collegian.

My whole life, I’ve been scared of endings. The Collegian taught me that there is no such thing, and I think that is what is going to give me the most peace during this turbulent time of transition. I am not leaving the Collegian behind, but rather taking everything it has given me and pouring it into my next chapter. I am beyond grateful to have gotten to be a part of it all.

In my typical fashion, I think I’ll end this by slapping on a memorable quote that saves me from having to put together a grand finishing thought by myself. This one’s from one of my favorite books, “The Book Thief,” by Markus Zusak.

                                       “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

Irina Costache can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @irinaacostache (social media is forever xoxo).