I’ve always been terrible at goodbyes. It’s easier to just slip out and leave.
Maybe that’s what drew me to Pipe Dream. I liked journalism — sure — but it was also so damn easy. Heading over to a story I had to cover, talking to the people I had to talk to, then walking back to my room to write.
It’s so easy to just sit back and watch. People have their own stories that I was to learn about and tell. Penning my own was harder. And telling those people how much I loved talking to them was out of the question.
When I first started college, I told myself that no matter what, I’d end up as a lawyer. Ironically, I had this big dream of representing refugees and anyone looking for somewhere to call home.
A large part of me still wants that path. But I’ve always been a wanderer, and someone once told me I could be a writer.
So the first week of classes, I found myself sitting in the back of UUWB03 — a space I would eventually live in — and listening as editors explained the meaning behind their publication’s unusual name.
Little did I know I’d spend my senior year desperately trying to fill their shoes, doing my best to give back to this 77-year-old, independent, underappreciated newspaper that plucked my wandering self right out of freshman year and told me I could become something.
As comforting as it was to hide and write, to stay in my little corner of solitude, it didn’t last. My sophomore year someone told me I should be a leader too. At this point, I started to ask questions — that definitely wasn’t me and it quite obviously never would be me. I was perfectly happy right where I was.
But sometimes, people know you better than you know yourself, and as someone stuck in his own corner for that long, I didn’t really know what I was becoming. Halfway through my junior year, I found myself staring back at a team of shy, pensive freshmen, telling them that they too, could be writers.
There’s something strangely beautiful in writing about a world you struggle to feel a part of, in talking to people under the guise of interviews, then spending hours thinking as you slowly craft a story you hope they may care to glance at.
I took pride in it — we all did. But it was much more than just that. I was giving writers a voice, and telling readers things they never knew. It was empowering, and it was special. I was a writer, and yes, I guess I was a leader too.
So my senior year, when I was asked to take up the reins of my little newspaper, I knew I could do it, even with a head full of doubts. I still held journalism at a cautious distance — part of me viewed the oddly comforting world it sucked me into with suspicion — but I owed this place something.
Pipe Dream, for those who don’t know, really is true to its name. In a school without a journalism program, we are an entirely independent paper with no funding or alumni advisor. The people who find their way into our office, and especially the ones that join our staff — many of them really are wanderers.
But dare I say, they are so much more than just writers, and so much more than just editors, photographers, designers and marketers. The staff that mentored me for years before it was their turn to graduate, and the ones that work under me now — they mean more to me than they’ll ever know.
This year, after more than a few sleepless nights, I did my best to give back to one of the few places I’ve ever been able to call home. We started up a sustainable printing model, turned our bank account around, bought new equipment and created new digital projects that hopefully won’t disappear every year.
But most of all, this year I wanted to show everyone what Pipe Dream could be, just as its staff once did for me.
Now, in a pattern I’m all-too-familiar with, it’s once again time for me to leave, to head back into a world I always knew best only as an observer. Only this time, I’ll go armed with the knowledge of what I can be. This time I know that if I choose to step out into uncertainty, there will always be people who embrace me for who I am and remind me of what I should be.
In lieu of the “thank you” I’ll never be able to put into words, this time I really want to say goodbye.
Lia, it’s a tough job, but I can already tell you are going to do amazing. Remember to take a step back once in a while and look at how far you’ve come.
Bella, as you so kindly always remind us, none of this would have been possible without you. I know, and I’m so grateful for that. You will do great things.
To all our staff and contributors — yes, there’s too many of you to name — I love you guys. I know I was a little hard on you at times, and I regret some of that, but I hope you understand why. This place has a long way to go, as do we. Let’s make sure we get there.
Professor Larémont, thank you for never giving up on me. I hope everyone has the chance to meet someone like you. I wish I could’ve shown you what I was capable of, but hopefully the best is yet to come.
To Pipe Dream and its encouraging editors, it’s been four years since I was drawn into the embrace of your windowless office. Maybe it’s a little odd that a student organization is where I drew my stake in the sand and demanded I make something of myself. Maybe I’m getting sentimental as I prepare to leave it all behind.
But for the first time I can remember, I’m grateful for a chance to say goodbye.
Hamza Khan is a senior majoring in political science and is Pipe Dream’s Editor-in-Chief. He was News Editor in spring 2022 and an assistant news editor from 2020-21.