When Things Fall Apart

Last week was a historic moment for us: We released a very special Friday edition of the Exponent. However, this was absolutely unintentional — a catastrophic crash of our design software forced us to publish the edition a day later than usual. Needless to say, it was rough to face such a technology-induced quandary while piecing together our first edition of the semester, and I’m incredibly proud of my production team — first for plugging away until the sun began to peek over the Bridgers on Thursday morning, then working late into the following night on little-to-no sleep. If how one deals with adversity reveals one’s true character, then the Exponent has a team with an impressive amount of character behind it.

If there was a silver lining in last week’s traumatic experience, it’s that it offered an important lesson in adaptation — how to react when things go horribly and unexpectedly and horribly wrong. In addition to this specific issue with our design software, there are almost guaranteed to be more challenges that will make us tear our hair out and consider, as a last resort, filling the edition with pictures of cute puppies and cat memes. After last week, however, I know the people steering the Exponent will not give up, regardless of what perplexing problem creeps its way into our production process.

Such adaptation is not only something to think about in moments of crisis — it is the ongoing reality of a student organization like the Exponent, especially in the face of annual turnover in staff and leadership. This year, we have an almost entirely new editorial team, as well as a flurry of new writers — many of whom have never written for a newspaper before. As a result, sometimes putting the paper together can feel as terrifying and difficult as riding a bike up a precariously steep hill, blindfolded and being chased by wolves.

However, that is the joy of being part of a student organization like the Exponent; despite the challenges we face, we are all new at this, and we are all in it together. In this setting, the value of trust — in the people you work with as well as yourself — is as vital as free pizza in keeping student organizations thriving. Sure, this may sound like an empty platitude by now, but perhaps that means trust is something we tend to take for granted. I have certainly been guilty of this, but after last week, I have more trust in the team behind the Exponent than ever before.

Being one of the more visible student organizations on campus, the Exponent also has to earn the trust of the MSU community. This is no easy task, especially being a student newspaper at a relatively small state school without a journalism program. However, I personally have ample trust in the accuracy and integrity of our reporting — and throughout this year, I hope we earn that trust with you, too.

In the meantime, may the gods of technology be ever in our favor.