By Briana Brady, Opinion Editor–
What is life’s meaning if not to find a way to use our own thoughts, values, and beliefs to catalyze action in hopes of ameliorating the life of another? This question has permeated the six wonderful semesters I have spent as a part of the UTC Echo, and five of those semesters have offered me the privilege of serving on the Echo’s team of editorial staff. While my career with The Echo began in Features, my passion has always been Opinion. I find purpose in expressing myself through written word; using this platform to advocate for policies, practices, and people I believe in has been a cathartic and powerful responsibility each week.
As I think back on my time as Opinion Editor, some of the pieces that stick out in my mind include the QAnon exploration piece in which I sought to not only explain QAnon but also make sense of it myself, my column that called attention to inconsistencies with COVID policy in proclamation and in practice on UTC’s campus (and ended up garnering local media attention), and of course, the recanting of my experience surviving the April 2020 tornado. In each of these examples, as with every Opinion piece I have published, I have used the week’s topic as an opportunity to process, consider, and decide my own opinions on the subject about which I am writing. I have always turned to writing as a way to communicate the swirl of thoughts inside of me, and the opportunity to serve in this role has allowed me to attempt to transform those summations into something that is hopefully meaningful and influential.
As time has gone on and print media has become less commonplace, and I worry, less valued, I have been concerned that UTC students have looked less to The Echo as a voice of the students. However, I have learned that The Echo is not only a source for current students, past students, and future students of UTC, but it is also a repository of history. Writing about the here and now, what is transpiring in our internal worlds as well as the world around us, and how we interpret it all serves as a hallmark of our time. It is a piece of who we are and who we can become.
I hope that during my career as Opinion Editor, my writing has resulted in someone thinking about something in a new way, considering the humanity in someone they may have belittled before, or seeking to learn more about a topic previously foreign to them. It is my hope that I have encouraged the section to become a mirage of the myriad of opinions constituting this diverse, magnanimous campus. Ultimately, I sought for this section to showcase the human nature that makes up the UTC student body at this moment in time and represent the hope that this generation offers to the world. If the writings of this incredible editorial staff, University faculty, students, and community members have rendered that effect on you, I am grateful to know that it is because of the power of collective thought, of interpersonal impressions, and of the souls that comprise our humanity.
I feel so lucky to have had such an incredible opportunity to write for this publication, and moreover, to write freely. To meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. To understand the world and the way we digest it in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have. So as I prepare to graduate this week, I thank The Echo and its gentle guidance in developing me as a student, a writer, and as a human being.
Farewell, Echo, and thank you.