/Letter from the editor: Do something! 
Graphic by Wesley Walter, Managing editor.

Letter from the editor: Do something! 

By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief 

When did Montevallo become so dead in such a specific way? 

What I mean by that, is when did people stop wanting to do things outside of just going to class? To be a part of things? 

What I’m referring to here is the lack of involvement in extracurriculars that has seemed to affect and plague so many student organizations, this publication included. When did this issue start and why is it occurring? 

I’ll be honest, recruitment and getting people involved is a perennial struggle for The Alabamian. It’s a hard sell to give people: “Yeah, so if you get involved with The Alabamian you basically get to do more work on top of your coursework and other responsibilities for fun and resume building purposes, and maybe one day you’ll be on our paid editorial staff if you want and apply yourself.” So, admittedly, I am coming into this from a somewhat skewed perspective. 

But the thing is, I know it’s not just The Alabamian that’s struggling to get people involved. Talk to almost any other student organization leader, and they’ll tell you a similar story: it seems like people just don’t want to be involved anymore. But why? 

Well, from my perspective, it seemed to go something like this. 

My first semester at Montevallo was during fall 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Obviously, campus life was mostly dead. It had to be, quite literally, for health and safety purposes. And, I’ll be blunt, it was bad. Amid everything, I don’t think anyone felt excited about being in college. You could still get involved with some student organizations, but it was so much more difficult to feel as though you were genuinely a part of that group when meetings were over Zoom and you hadn’t even met anyone in person before. 

Cut to fall 2021. Things certainly got better. No longer an extreme health and safety risk to gather for meetings, vaccinated and thoroughly cabin-fevered students seemed eager to get back in the groove of college life. 

From my perspective, starting my first year on The Alabamian’s editorial staff, everything seemed promising—at first. We had people who seemed interested in getting involved showing up to our meetings at the beginning of the year, and some of them began taking their first story pitches and learning the ropes. But it seemed like as the semester went on, people began to drop like flies, with fewer and fewer people showing up to meetings and even fewer being willing to pick up stories. It seemed like everyone was less willing to do anything.  

This has been the trend every subsequent year. It’s only been an upward battle that has compounded itself in difficulty each year as we’ve lacked people to step up into key leadership roles. And this is not for lack of trying on our editorial staff’s behalf. Of course I’m biased in saying these things, but it feels like we’ve tried every trick in the book to get and keep people involved to no avail. 

I don’t want to sound like I’m whining because things didn’t work out how I’ve imagined them to. I understand that asking people to add on extracurriculars to already busy schedules is a lot, and not always feasible. But, I worry that we are beginning to lose part of what makes college life vibrant and interesting. College is a great time to explore new things and get yourself out there. You’re only here for a few years before you have to face the unrelenting reality of being a person with a full-time job, so why not make the most out of having the opportunities to explore, learn and connect while you’re here? 

But the fact of the matter is, COVID-19 messed a lot of things up. I fear that we have created a culture of anti-sociality where the task of meeting and connecting with others—which was already often scary pre-COVID—now feels less necessary than ever. A culture wherein working together and holding each other responsible to create something, like this newspaper for instance, is not as important. And, I worry what that means for us as people. 

Now, I’m graduating in less than a month and I’m genuinely nervous about the future of this paper. I’m worried about the future of this organization that has helped me learn and grow so much, that has shaped me as a person and helped give my college experience definition and shape. 

Working on The Alabamian has been one of the standout experiences of my time at Montevallo. I’ve found a passion for journalism that I never knew I had. I’ve created a body and volume of published work that I’m truly incredibly proud of. And, yes, it has stressed me out at times and I’ve poured blood, sweat and tears into this paper, but I’ve also made best friends and created wonderful memories that outshine every time I was worried about meeting a deadline. 

I can’t imagine my college experience would be half as fulfilling as it has been if I hadn’t gotten involved with The Alabamian.  

It makes me genuinely sad that so many people might be cheating themselves out of this part of their college experience. I know that The Alabamian is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but this can be analogous to any other student organization. 

I know it’s a lot, but I encourage anyone who is reading this who may feel like they’ve been missing something from your college experience—who feels like they’re stuck in a rut of just going to classes everyday—to get involved with a student organization that seems interesting to you. I know it may seem daunting to add something else into your schedule or to put yourself out there, but I promise you the stress or initial discomfort can be so worth it in the long run. Your next great passion or friendship might be waiting for you. 

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.