In honour of Bwog’s 10th birthday, our former Editors-in-Chief are returning to write about their experiences, both positive and negative, with Bwog. First up is Alexandra Svokos, who served in her honourable office during 2013. Below, she reflects on joining Bwog and how it has changed her life.
For some reason over the last few weeks I’ve found myself having to explain several times why I got into journalism. This explanation inevitably turns into an explanation of Bwog.
Journalism wasn’t part of the plan, just like Bwog wasn’t part of the plan. But in freshman year I sent piles of tips to firstname.lastname@example.org, thinking all my classmates were tipping with the same frequency. Then sometime that spring, 2011, I got an email from Carolyn Ruvkun and Claire Sabel telling me I’d become a prolific tipster and asking me to come to a meeting.
Next thing I knew it was November 2012 and I was running the damn thing. Bwog can suck you in like that.
My ethos on Bwog always was that we’re “telling the people what they should know,” whether that’s shady stuff a group is doing, important information from the administration that nobody knows about because no one reads admin emails, or just where the free food’s at. That idea was something I found I like doing, and somewhere along my editorship I decided it’s what I wanted to keep doing. I’ve carried that ethos with me since then, although now I’ve moved on from the University Senate to the national one.
When I remember moments from Bwog, I remember the interruptions. I remember James Bennett mixing vodka tonics and teaching me how to use a record player when I got an urgent email from David Fine, so I had to borrow James’s computer to edit and publish this from David.
I remember going to a Devils game with my friend Dmitriy, who was at NYU, and letting him refresh my inbox to see just how many emails tips got over the course of the game.
I remember spending the drive back from Easter dinner to New York on the phone with former Dean Shollenberger after a tragedy occurred on campus.
I remember having to reassure friends they could still tell me funny stories without worrying I’d post about it.
I remember all the times I had to stop studying for finals to instead hop on a story. My GPA remembers that even better.
This piece is self-indulgent as all hell, and there are far too many uses of “I” here, as if I were doing this by myself, which is a joke. These interruptions were felt by the Bwog staff, and especially managing editor Alexandra Avvocato. They were felt by my friends and family and soulmate of a roommate who had to put up with me being a jerk indicating that campus events were more important than spending time with them.
I am proud of the work we did, but of course there are regrets. I wish I was nicer to the lovely souls who had to deal with me then. I wish I’d done a better job with diversity and inclusion. I always made the argument that our weekly meetings are open so anyone can come, but passive inclusion isn’t inclusion. After all, I had to be coaxed to come to my first meeting. There were stories and voices I could have had heard but didn’t take the efforts to find. As I said in my senior wisdom – that’s room for improvement.
Ultimately, had it not been for Bwog, I would’ve stuck with the plan. Gotten good grades in my econ classes, gone into finance, eventually get to B-school. I could schedule out my days with relative precision, knowing every day was going to be just about more of the same.
Now my life is all interruptions – even with this, I was planning on writing it on last Saturday, but Justice Antonin Scalia died, and there was work to do. Everything from my 10-year-goals to my day-to-day schedule is completely altered because Bwog jumped in and changed my values, my perspective, and (in case you haven’t caught onto the theme yet) my plan. Because if there’s one thing Bwog knows how to do, it’s interrupt things.
And I couldn’t be happier about that.
“I regret that my sisters and I don’t take normal pictures so I’d have something halfway decent to use here” via Bwog