In one of my first in-person classes after COVID-19, the guy sitting next to me asked if I’d share my notes with him. Seeing as this was his first time attending class in weeks, we both knew his request was out of pure laziness. Nonetheless, I shared my work anyway in hopes of keeping our interaction brief.

“What’s your email?” I asked.


“What’s your email?”


I stared at him impatiently as he said, “It’s not my fault you talk like a mouse.”

Growing up, my family used to call me “Wemberly Worried,” which is ironically pertinent considering the name comes from a children’s book about a worried mouse. Much like Wemberly, I was a very worried child. I worried about the whereabouts of my parents, whether someone disliked me, saying the wrong thing — you name it, I feared it. So, no, that was certainly not the first time I’d been compared to the small, timid creature — it’s an affinity I know all too well.

My solution was plain and simple — just don’t speak. I couldn’t say the wrong thing if I never spoke, so with that, I became a pretty quiet kid for most of my life.

I joined Pipe Dream my sophomore year of college because I had found solace in the stillness of writing. Disguising my fear under the headlines of productivity seemed like a plausible way to justify not speaking.

Boy, was I humbled.

My first ever event coverage was a Binghamton Night Live comedy special, and I vividly remember Sam, the arts & culture editor at the time, instructing me to seek out multiple strangers to conduct interviews with after the show. I had spent months comfortably masquerading as a journalist writing listicles and reviews, so veering from my original plan of lying low was unnerving, to say the least.

The show ended at 9 p.m., but I didn’t leave until around 12 a.m. What was supposed to be a few brief interviews turned into three hours of genuine conversation on the floor of a prop closet. I found myself exchanging curiosity for latent, inspiring narratives with three people who were mere strangers to me just hours earlier. The anonymous and unconditional nature of it all nullified any motives behind our discussion other than sincere interest. It was scary and unfamiliar, yet unapologetically loud, and I’ve found myself probing that same path ever since.

Wednesdays and Sundays would become the days I looked forward to the most. Production is where I got to spend hours with people who doubled as soundboards for my unsaid thoughts and ideas. Whether navigating cultural coverages, challenging each other to overdramatic games of darts or breaking down in the editorial room, the conversations I’ve had with my staff-turned-family are ones I’ll hold on to forever.

From contributor to intern to arts & culture assistant editor, my time at Pipe Dream has shown me that I could do both. How to swing the pendulum between constructive silence and outspoken conversation. When to unequivocally listen and when to speak up. The decibels of journalism soon became second nature to me, and now I’m pursuing a narrative where I’m not only willing but eager to talk to writers, editors, strangers and friends alike — I’ve had lots of catching up to do.

So, thank you, Pipe Dream, for telling me what I needed to hear and listening to me when I needed it the most. It may not have been the reason I joined, but this paper has amplified the voice I never knew I always had — mouse and all.

Sam, I was a nervous wreck joining Pipe Dream. Thank you for creating a space where I felt comfortable returning each week and for always having faith in my potential. Your hard work and encouragement, and dry sarcasm, are qualities I tried to emulate this year on staff. I promise I gave it my quarter all (:

Revati, I couldn’t have asked for a better co-assistant. Thank you for making Monday writers meetings all that they were and for putting up with me even when I drove you home and forgot to drop you off. Arts & culture is in great hands next year. I can’t wait to see all the incredible things you do with it.

Alexis, I will never not be in awe of you. Your strength as a leader and as a writer is unmatched, and our section wouldn’t be nearly all that it is without you. You’ve made me a better journalist and friend, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you by my side next year, too.

Bella, you’re a force to be reckoned with. Your devotion to the paper never went unnoticed, and I can only hope to be half the badass you are. I’m going to miss walking into the office and you being the first face I see — your presence is enough to set the bar exceptionally high each day.

Lia, my long-lost twin, I owe you my all. On my first day of staff, you complimented my article having not even known my name. You didn’t see something in me, you saw it in my writing, and I can’t even begin to tell you the impact that has had on me. Since then, I’ve had the privilege to watch you grow as a leader and the honor to call you one of my best friends. Promise me you’ll keep dancing through life — it’s a lot more fun that way.

To my mom, dad and real-life-twin, thank you for your unwavering support and the sleepless nights spent finding the right words for me to use. Unfortunately, this time there are simply no words that will ever do my appreciation for you justice, so in lieu of that, just know how grateful I am.

And to my Pipe Dream rocks, you’ve made my senior year so special. I thought I had it all going into my last year of college, but here I am graduating with a community that I didn’t know existed and now can’t ever live without — thank you endlessly for that.

Hudson Burrows is a senior majoring in psychology and is Pipe Dream’s assistant arts & culture editor. 

Views expressed in the opinions pages represent the opinions of the columnists. The only piece that represents the views of the Pipe Dream Editorial Board is the Staff Editorial.