Categorized | Letters

Meet the Editors

A grueling election, a presidential swap here at MSU and plenty of tear gas in our eyes. It’s been quite a year to be an MSU student.
And even in college, the end of the “year” comes in spring when classes end. So, here at The Big Green, we want to share with you some of our reflections and give you a peek at who’s behind this little magazine.
For our first time around, we’ve learned a lot, but our mission remains the same. As an alternative medium, we want to give the students a voice by covering what matters to you, our readers. Sometimes we hope to make you laugh or to get you riled up — but we always want to make you think. Yes, sometimes we have an attitude problem, other times we’re a little emotional, but would you really expect anything less from an editorial staff of six bad-ass women (just kidding about the bad-ass thing, but we really can get intense)?
So, gentle reader, here’s a letter from each of us, sharing some of our hopes, lessons and gratitude, for whatever it’s worth. From out of the woodwork, we are the people behind The Big Green. We just hope you’re behind us, too.
Ah-par-nah, Sex & Health Editor
[ap2]You have no idea what a blessing it is to finally work with people who know how to say your name. I’m often known as “that one Indian girl,” but I think now that this year is finally over, I might actually miss the many ways my name was pronounced. Well, that Indian girl is the editor of the Sex and Health — or, was, as this year is coming to a close and I’m stepping down from my duties to pass the crown along to someone else.
I’m an avid Harry Potter fan (those that read my column know this) and it’s no surprise I will be spending part of my summer (and by that I mean like a week, tops) reading the sixth book in the series. I also enjoy going to the bar (I hit the milestone of 21 this year) when I get a free night to indulge in Jagerbombs, Long Island Iced Teas and Sex on the Beaches. I’m a huge fan of traveling and plan to do more of it once I’m done with school. My plans right now are to head back to India, really get back to my roots and try to better understand where I came from. And who better to spend that time with than my mom, who probably knows me better than I’ll ever know myself.
This year I’ve learned so much and I finally decided what I want to do with my life and my degree when I graduate. I am also finally seen by my family as someone who will actually do OK in the future. Yes, it’s such a travesty that I’m not going to become a doctoror engineer, and heaven forbid I might not make as much money in journalism as in math and science fields, but, hey, at least I’m going to be doing something I love. I think they’re finally coming to terms with that.
So, I bid farewell to you all and give a big thanks to my fellow editors for making this year so memorable. I’m sure we’ll all see each other really soon, like when we take that all-expenses-paid business trip to Cancun.
Oh, and for the record, it’s:
AH-PAR-NAH EACH-EM-PATTY. Now you try.
Aparna Echempati
The Tequila Shooting and Cerebral Ashley, State Side Editor
When I joined the “I’d rather write a paper that take a test” club on Facebook (did that sentence really just come out of mouth?), I thought papers were the obvious superior to the world of number-two pencils and scantron sheets. But as I write this, feeling like I won’t be done writing final papers for days and days, I wonder if my judgment was flawed.
[ash4]I’ve enjoyed writing practically my whole life. When I learned cursive in second grade, I thought it was the coolest thing ever to grace lined paper. I grew up writing stories in journals covered with cats — my favorite animal — so it seemed natural I would pick journalism as a major. I was on the newspaper staff in high school and loved watching my peers read my articles every month.
I joined The Big Green during my freshman year at MSU. It’s been great seeing the magazine start from something so small and turn into this informative, sassy magazine for the MSU community. Not only that, but I have also formed close friendships with the other editors over tequila shots (non-alcoholic, of course) and Indian food. I am sad to see four of them graduate – they will surely be missed. (Aparna, I’ll let you know when I name my firstborn daughter after you. And Jenny, you’ll definitely be the coolest person in Oklahoma. Wait, I think Hanson is from Tulsa, never mind. Sally, what can I say? We ruled at the Mae concert. And thank goodness it didn’t cost $400! Traci, in my mind, you’re already famous – I can’t believe you’re interning for Newsweek! And Sarah, I know you’re not graduating but I might as well have a shout out to you, too. You’ve been so dedicated to The Big Green this year and I hope you know that you are appreciated!)
Next year I will be returning to The Big Green as assistant editor, which is quite exciting. I’ve come a long way since those cat journals. Now if I could just stop searching for random groups on Facebook and finish this term paper already!
Ashley Symons
The Unconventional and Not Really Double-Chinned Jenny, Arts & Culture Editor
A few weekends ago, I was sitting in the Kellogg Auditorium patiently waiting for my name to be called for the annual J-School Awards Convocation. In the middle of fussing with my button-down shirt for the millionth time, the words of the speaker floated down from on high and left me gaping like a goldfish sucking at the air – she was waxing poetic about the skills, achievements and general wonderfulness of the student standing to her left. Internships, scholarships, awards, perfect grades: this young man, standing quietly with his hands clasped in front of his impeccably crisp white shirt and dark gray trousers and trying hard not to look smug, had apparently not wasted a second of his education here at MSU.[jen2]
Horrified, I looked up with what can only be described as what a squirrel expresses as he looks into the tread of an oncoming tire – basically, I was screwed. What had I done during my time here? Why did my achievements suddenly sound so blasé in the face of perfection?
As the unending line of over-achievers trotted up to the podium, mentally stroking their egos, it hit me that my college experience has been as fulfilling as theirs, just not in the same way. I have helped to create a medium that was missing on campus and will be forever proud and grateful for the opportunity. I have been fortunate enough to spend my summers traveling and experiencing a life outside the one I knew. I may not have taken the conventional college route, but it was my route, and for that, I am happy. I have learned you don’t always need to follow the herd to find success. Strike out on your own and the discoveries you make will be life changing.
Jenny Coon
Pathological Liar and Latin Lover, Sally, Global View Editor
[sal2]A native of Mongolia, I was born in a tiny mud hut in the Gobi Desert. I ran away from my village at the age of 12, armed only with a crude pair of flip-flops, aviator sunglasses and a bum-legged albino mule named Daisy.
My travels took me to Tibet, where I did a stint as the first-ever female Jewish Buddhist monk, and then I journeyed across the Indian Ocean in an inner-tube, killing sharks with my bare hands and doggie-paddling up the Red Sea until I reached dry land on the Saudi coast. While digging for water in the parched sand, I happened upon an undiscovered oil reserve, became a multi-billionaire and Sultan-ess and decided to pursue my higher education at Michigan State University.
I majored in journalism so I could learn how to effectively record the tales of my voyage, and in the process, happened upon The Big Green. My citizen-of-the-world status remained a secret, but landed me the position of editor in the Global View section. I told the writers, my fellow editors and everyone else in East Lansing I was an actress-turned-writer from the small town of Big Rapids; a Leo and a fan of punk rock music, grilled cheese sandwiches, thrift store shopping and Benjamin Bratt.
But it was all a lie. Since I am now graduating from MSU, I feel it is time to come clean. Everyone thinks I am an eager participant in the JET Program for the upcoming year, but I am not actually moving to Japan to teach English in the public schools. I am hitchhiking back to the remote corners of the Gobi Desert to trace my nomadic roots, and perhaps locate my gimpy mule. No one knows when I will resurface, but it will most likely happen where there sits an empty page and a story that needs to be told. Or else wherever there is an abundance of hot Latin men.
Sally Kantar
A Much Better Writer Than Paleontologist, Traci, Assistant Editor
[tra] A couple of days ago my friend revealed to me the truth: There is no such thing as a brontosaurus.
Apparently what I had come to know as brontosaurus was actually the head of one dinosaur erroneously placed on the body of another.
I was crushed. Not because I was particularly attached to the brontosaurus to any creepy extent, but I felt like a part of my life has been based on a lie.
Don’t worry, he said, there’s still an Apatosaurus.
It’s like telling a little kid that there’s no Santa—but hey! There are still reindeer. OK, so they don’t fly….or bring gifts to the children of the world. But, really, it’s the same thing!
I don’t know why this was so distressing for me. I had taken the Santa talk pretty well as a child, and the tooth fairy came as no surprise. But this brontosaurus thing…I just hadn’t seen it coming. I felt so helpless, so out of control. Was nothing in this world sacred?
Perhaps I’m being melodramatic. Perhaps I’m overreacting. But, dammit, when everything else in my life is changing so rapidly and everything I’ve known from the time I entered kindergarten is being ripped from under me in little more than a week, is it too much to ask that a beloved prehistoric icon remain constant? Is it??
But now as I embark into the real world, without a byline on which to stand, a little more disillusioned than when I came, I only hope my head remains firmly, and accurately, placed on my shoulders.
Traci Carpenter
Fiesty and No Longer the Bee Girl, Sarah, Editor-in-Chief
My first fight was with a little boy named Justin. I was a stocky second grader who resembled “the bee girl” from that Blind Melon video, and he was a skinny, taller fifth grader. He said I ate too many twinkies and something inside me said this was one of those battles worth fighting — so I sent him home with a black eye. Now, I’m not condoning violence at all (I cried for days with guilt for poor Justin) but sometimes you can’t lie down and take it anymore.
[sar3]In high school I was sent to the principal (and trust me, she was not a princi-PAL) for, you guessed it, insubordination. The slip actually used that word, too: I-N-S-U-B-O-R-D-I-N-A-T-I-O-N, in bright red caps. I wasn’t too harshly punished, but it’s been my favorite word ever since.
So, while we’re at it, I have more confessions. I like to sleep late, sing loudly in the car (sometimes right on the street), I can’t keep my room clean and I actually like the taste of tequila. But I have good intentions.
I’m a little older now and I still fight with boys, but most of my real energy is spent trying to stand up for what I believe in, to name a few- women’s rights, a fairer democracy, enough Adult Swim time (you know, the important stuff). As an editor, I won’t compromise those things or your interests.
I’m no longer the bee girl in fisticuffs over a Hostess treat, but I do know what’s worth fighting for (like honest alternative media) and when a little insubordination does some good — like when editing a certain alternative medium. Thank you to the writers, editors, designers and most of all readers, who have believed in us this first year. I hope not to let you down.
Sarah Hunko

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