Letter from the Editor
by Maggie J Elias
Week 10 of Spring Term: the ultimate victory lap. For a lot of students, these last fleeting moments of college are filled with the buzz of warm afternoons at Taylor’s, hours spent floating through the hazey pollen clouds of the Willamette River, and sun-basked naps in every goddamn hammock-able square inch of campus. The sun is finally out and the birds are chirping. Even for those not graduating, the promise of summer evokes a certain trance-like shift of energy. The anticipation of not having to painfully slog through a 12-page paper (the day before it’s due) for at least three months triggers a campus-wide sigh of relief.
The same can be said of students in the advertising program. Most seniors have completed their terminal Campaigns pitches, final projects are quickly wrapping up, and the third floor is experiencing an unusually high vacancy level. While the sigh of relief brought on by Week 10 can be heard and felt within the halls of Allen, there’s another collective phenomenon occurring. And it’s often sweaty and sometimes tearful, but almost never bloody.
For those of us in the ad program—as painfully cliché as it sounds—the hustle never stops. Our drive to create pushes us to put our blood, sweat, and tears into everything, over and over again. Week 10 of Spring Term means balancing a tsunami of responsibilities with planning for the future and saying goodbye to friends and remembering to pay your internet bill on time. Week 10 of Spring Term means an inevitable and overwhelming ambivalence permeating the halls, as some leave for internships and some remain in wait of any response from dozens of applications. Week 10 of Spring Term means that summer is just around the corner and there will be a whole new list of things to grind out. The pressure to create is exponentially increased by the elusive freedom of summer.
The struggle is real. For me, these last few weeks (realistically, months) have been filled with frustrating waves of self-doubt, constant second-guessing of even the most insignificant life choices, and Degrassi-status flares of existential angst. But what I’ve realized—through beautifully vulnerable conversations with others riding similar waves—is that the struggle is normal and that it can be channeled back into everything we are working so hard for.
When I look at submissions for The Roam, I’m reminded of this fucking cool and borderline manic need to create. I’m reminded of all of the people going through things and channeling those things into their work. And I’m reminded of the community within Allen that wants to get shit done. And that feels good. That gives purpose to the blood, sweat, and tears so its not just frantic panic.
I’ve found that talking to people about their process is a great way to learn more about how to navigate my own process. Connecting with post-grad Ducks in the industry, having conversations with classmates and faculty, and talking with other passionate makers have all helped me get my groove back when I’m stuck in a slump. I think that the most successful maker-ism stems from our ability to be vulnerable, the willingness to put everything into everything, and from our hunger for shared experiences.
On this Monday of Week 10 of Spring Term, I challenge you to remember:
Burn-out is real, but so is the supportive community within Allen.
Manifest that shit. Tattoo it on your kneecaps. Sew it into your underoos. Scream it from the mountaintops.
If you ever want to talk (preferably over bagels), I’m only a DM away.
In the meantime, let’s dig in, roll up our sleeves, and embrace the juiciest of blood, sweat, + tears.