Editorial: my long and winding road to the B&S

Isaac Mielke '18

The summer before I started college I was reading everything I could find about Grinnell. I was combing through all of the websites and checking all the college guides. I also remember stumbling across a tidbit on the Grinnell Wikipedia page about a satirical newspaper. Now, I was pumped. I was the opinions editor or something for my high school newspaper, which was a total joke. And I was one of those kids who worshipped The Onion. A satirical newspaper was all I wanted (and I didn’t realize that lots of schools have satirical newspapers). I just got it in my head that regular newspapers were boring – why write for a “real” newspaper when I could write for a satirical one? I got so excited about the B&S that summer that I started to come up with article ideas, including “Robert Noyce Reveals Alma Mater” (I didn’t realize he was dead) and “Republican Spotted” (I thought that was funny). I had a few others that were even worse.

Unfortunately, I had a shift at the dining hall (salad bar, a mistake) on Sunday nights, which conflicted with B&S meetings. I emailed Tess Given ’15, the editor-in-chief, about this dilemma as well as some article ideas. Even though I couldn’t attend meetings, Tess encouraged me to write articles and submit them via email.

Even though I never wrote an article that year (I worked a Sunday dinner shift in the dining hall that spring, too), I religiously read The B&S. I would lie down on my unwisely lofted bed on Friday afternoons and read the latest edition cover to cover.

In fall of second year, I was working as a mentor and my essions on Sunday nights, providing me yet another excuse. I kept reading The B&S, but part of me still held out hope that I would write for The B&S someday.

Finally, in spring of second year I had no commitments on Sunday nights, shedding me of my main excuse (which wasn’t a good excuse in the first place). However, I thought I wanted to be a math major, so I was taking Combinatorics, which was even harder than it sounds.

Combinatorics crushed me. I lost sleep and my mental health suffered. Eventually, I made the decision to withdraw about halfway through the semester. This choice was hard – I almost felt ashamed to withdraw from a class, like I was disappointing my adviser. However, this class made me realize that I didn’t want to be a math major.

Now that I was down to three classes, I had some free time. I definitely used some of it to watch basketball games, but I wanted to get more involved on-campus. I decided to finally attend a B&S meeting, which for some reason made me feel really good about myself.

I loved it. I wrote an article after that first meeting and I wrote a couple more that semester with Sophie Kornbluh 16’s encouragement. Then that fall I continued to write articles on occasion (whenever Julia could get me to show up). But then I studied abroad that spring, and I figured I would just keep doing the same thing as a senior.

I got an email when I was abroad about editor openings for The B&S. I asked Aaron Weerasinghe ’17 if I should even bother applying, seeing as I was abroad and about to be a senior. He said yes and now I’m here.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s never too late to try out a club. And I’m also saying that personal wellness comes before academics. I’m really glad I’m with The B&S and I’m also really glad I’m not a math major.