Friday, July 27, 2012

A Seemingly Small World

Coming from a small school, I’m used to hearing the same names and seeing the same faces multiple times a day. But I never thought that the name of one of my peers would pop up at Parade Magazine, miles away from our Waterville, Maine campus.   

A few weeks ago, I was attending a routine meeting in an editor’s office when a piece of paper one of my co-workers was holding caught my eye. It was a press release for a book, and right away I recognized the name of the author—not just because it was fairly distinct, but also because he had been a senior during my freshman year at Colby. But the overlap didn’t end there. The “author” was actually the first person I ever interviewed for the college paper. The piece I wrote was a profile all about him, and I eagerly picked it up only a few weeks into the school year, determined to prove myself to my new editors. I had met with the senior early one Friday night during parents’ weekend, which definitely wasn’t my interview slot of choice. We sat in the deserted student union after dinner, while my family, along with the rest of the freshmen and their parents, attended an a cappella concert. The interview went well, and I wrote up the profile and turned it into my editors. But after the paper came out, something else happened—the senior sent me an email complimenting me on the piece I had written about him. Getting feedback—let alone positive feedback—on my work seemed strange and extremely thoughtful. 

Over next few years, I would hear his name come up with regard to his latest accomplishments. I think I was even somewhat aware that he was writing a book, but I never thought I would hear about it outside the confines of my campus. But sitting in a magazine office in New York City and seeing the press release with his name on it nearly three years after our interview made me smile—while I can’t credit him for my continued interest in journalism, who knows what would have happened if he had emailed me saying the profile was awful. Would I be sitting in the Parade office, about to become the editor-in-chief of the same newspaper for which I first interviewed him? Would my freshman year-self ever have thought that the guy I agreed to interview on a whim would be publishing a book one day? This moment—which I tried to quickly brush off in front of my editors—made me realize that, clichés aside, it truly is a small world after all.

-Sarah Lyon
Parade Magazine
Colby College

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