This summer I visited twelve cities I had never been to before. In a whirlwind I traveled through eight countries in Europe, and — via a twenty-minute ferry across the Bosphorus — into Asia. After such experiences, I wanted to write this letter with some great message of enlightenment, bestowed upon me by Wanderlust. But there isn’t really one to give.
Traveling is exhausting. There’s only so many cathedrals one person can take, and actually moving between the cities they loom over is much more draining than I ever believed sitting on a train could be. But it meant I had plenty of time to ponder the upcoming semester, and all the new experiences it would bring.
As I’m sure all my predecessors experienced, it is both thrilling and terrifying to be writing this letter. Because it signifies not only my new position as Editor-in-Chief, and the work that this role entails, but also my place at the center of the relationships that weave together the threads of this paper on which we leave our inked mark.
I have a responsibility, first, to the reporters of the Herald. To lead and to organize, and, I hope, to wisely delegate. To our new junior staff, some of whom are experiencing KAIST for the first time. To my Assistant Editor and our Heads of Division, who ensure the smooth and fair running of this club. And to all the members, without whom the Herald would be nothing.
Second, I have a responsibility to everyone who reads the Herald. I will strive to report the most truthful, relevant, and necessary news. Equally importantly, it is my aim to make our writing more accessible to readers, by continuing to improve the layout of the printed papers, by increasing distribution, and most critically by managing our website and online presence more effectively.
And lastly, I have a responsibility to myself. To become the person, the Editor, that I know I can be. To work hard towards my goals. To not take twelve-hour overnight buses just because they’re less expensive than the alternatives.
Traveling doesn’t make you feel worldly, or intelligent, or enlightened. I’ve now boarded a lot of trains, walked up a lot of steps, and eaten a lot of different kinds of bread. And it reminded me that I’m only human. That I’m allowed to be too tired to think, and be sad about a street-cat with three legs, and to get over-excited about vegan desserts. That it’s okay to not always act like other people, and sometimes to not even like them. But traveling shows you the wealth that this planet and its people have to offer. KAIST is our home for the next little while, but it’s not the whole world. Take notice of what is happening out there; the Amazon is still burning, our political leaders are creating chaos, and millions of people are protesting for our planet. And the newspapers reporting it are waiting to be read.
The KAIST Herald is not my paper, but I am its person. Which is to say, I am yours, readers. And, out of the seven-ish billion on this planet, I am happily my own. I hope you are too.
P.S. Maybe that was some cheesy enlightenment after all...