The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

A love letter to the Cynic editors

A+love+letter+to+the+Cynic+editors
Molly Parker

Dear Cynic editors,

I came to the Cynic as an anxious first-year, nervous to speak my mind and unsure of how I fit into UVM.

COVID college consumed me. All of my classes were online and like most first-years, I wasn’t involved in any extracurriculars. 

Joining the school newspaper was not on my radar. I’ve always loved to write, but I never saw journalistic writing as my style. I’ve never been interested in “finding the story” or pressing for information. 

Then I found out I could write opinion columns and use my favorite word of all time: I.  

I was sold. 

My first semester at the Cynic was conducted entirely through Microsoft Teams and Zoom. I never even stepped foot in the Cynic office, a place I now spend so much of my time, with people I have come to care for deeply. 

Still, I looked forward to Tuesday night opinion section meetings, even if they were just a video call from my dorm room.

I remember pitching my first story: Gabby, the opinion editor at the time, was so enthusiastic and encouraging. She helped me through every step of the way and fostered my love for opinion writing.

When the column came out, I felt such pride seeing my first published piece on the Cynic website. I kept returning to the opinion tab, smiling under my mask every time I saw the headline.    

Sophomore year came along and the Cynic became an even bigger part of my life.

As pandemic restrictions shrunk, my Cynic community grew. We met in person and even had opinion section parties. After every meeting, I ate dinner in the Grundle with fellow opinion writers. Tuesday nights were exclusively reserved for the Cynic, and all my friends knew it.

Eventually, I took over as the opinion editor, which, to say the least, had its ups and downs.

The Cynic became increasingly stressful toward the end of my sophomore year. I was spending more and more time doing Cynic work, but in an environment that now felt hostile. 

The Cynic office, which had become a space to collaborate and connect with others, was quickly turning into a room of sadness and intensity that I dreaded walking into. By the time the fall rolled around, I didn’t even want to be the opinion editor anymore. 

Taking over as co-Editor-in-Chief was not a decision I made lightly. When I left the Cynic last fall to study abroad in Spain, I wasn’t sure I’d return at all. 

The Cynic has been an influential part of my UVM experience. It has brought me joy and pride but also anger and resentment. 

It has made me cry, scream and question my intelligence. It has also made me a better leader, taught me valuable professional skills and given me incredible friendships. 

While soaking in the Spanish sun, I got a text I had been dreading. 

My friend and soon to be co-Editor-in-Chief, Eamon, explained the Cynic’s current situation. 

The Cynic had been through a lot in the past four years: a pandemic, a new advisor, a cultural shift at UVM and a deteriorating editor retention rate. We had a young team, composed of many underclassmen who, understandably, didn’t feel ready to take on any more responsibility.

No one felt equipped to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief, and at this point, the only remaining choice was us.

I spent nearly two months thinking about whether I was willing to do it.

There were things I would miss about being the opinion editor. I loved guiding new members through their first stories, knowing they felt the same nerves and excitement I felt all those years ago. I deeply cared for every writer and was immensely proud of their work. 

Was I ready to give that up?

I spent the past three years writing about hot girl walks, disordered eating, Jojo Siwa and communal bathrooms. I don’t conduct interviews, I’ve never done a public records request and I’ve never covered an event. Am I really qualified to oversee the entire paper? 

Last year, more often than not, I left Cynic meetings feeling drained, defeated and underappreciated. I sacrificed my school work and my mental well-being so the opinion section could flourish. I still had a passion for column writing, but it came at a price. 

So I pondered a much bigger question in my head: is it worth it?

First-year me had no intention of climbing the hierarchy of the Cynic: I had no journalistic experience prior to college and I have no plans to go into journalism in the future. Every editorial position I have held here is literally because no one else would do it. 

I am a good opinion columnist. I was a good editor who created a bustling section. However, it’s hard to feel qualified and knowledgeable when I know the real reason why I have been granted so much power within the Cynic.

I have felt intense imposter syndrome my entire time here, and truthfully, it still hasn’t gone away. 

I wish I had some “aha” moment to pinpoint when I officially committed to being co-EIC, but I really don’t. 

The second I said yes, I regretted it. I was immediately looking forward to my retirement in December. I did, however, have one thing going for me: I was diving in head first with the best teammate on my side.

Once I reconnected with Eamon, my energy slowly started to change. He reminded me why I love student journalism. And as you’ve learned this semester, when Eamon and I commit to the bit, we fully commit to the bit. 

We hit the ground running this summer, renovating the office and reworking our production schedule. We dreamed big. No project or idea was too crazy.

We envisioned the Cynic Oscar’s—a red carpet event where our best stories and projects of the semester would be awarded. We imagined hosting a panel of local journalists and media makers to inspire our staff. We even proposed a mockumentary style sitcom—which by the way, is totally happening next semester. 

We shifted our attitudes. We wanted—and expected—high quality work. However, if a story was a day late or we had less content for one issue, we knew the world would keep turning. We worked to make the newsroom less hierarchical in its structure. We didn’t want anyone to feel like the Cynic was more important than their well-being. 

Despite my crazy ideas and big imagination, getting back into the game was still scary. The editorial board was almost entirely new from when I left. I had no idea what I was walking into.

Will they like the changes we’re making? Will they like me? Do they think I’m qualified? Are they as nervous as I am?

We sat in a circle on the floor of the Sugar Maple Ballroom, ready to kick off the semester with our first general meeting. All of your smiling faces and eager eyes were looking at me. 

Oh shit. This is real. I’m actually in charge.

At that point, I only knew you as your names and your editor positions.

I didn’t know how much fun we’d have together. I didn’t know Sunday deadline meetings would be so enjoyable. I didn’t know our mix of personalities would blend together so perfectly.

I approached this semester expecting to feel exhausted and annoyed the whole time. I was prepared for it to feel like a marathon-long sprint to winter break, ready to close the door to the Cynic office and never walk through it again. 

That has been far from the case.

This job has been challenging. It hasn’t always been easy and it certainly hasn’t always been fun. But your unwavering support, dedication and care kept me going and made the semester so much more enjoyable.

Thank you for trusting me—I threw a lot at you. The Cynic probably looked different this semester than you expected, but you all rolled with the punches and the craziness with ease and a positive attitude. Your ability to adapt did not go unnoticed.

I smile when I get notifications from our WhatsApp group chat with non-Cynic-related messages. I love that we all care enough to update each other on random life events or silly day-to-day activities. 

My heart is so happy when I see the light on in the Cynic office when I’m walking through the Davis Center. I love peeking inside and seeing so many of you gathered around the table, doing homework, working on Cynic projects and laughing with each other.

I love that we all happily spend our free time together. It has been beautiful getting to know you all as people, not just as editors. 

Every day you impress me with your talent, kindness, passion and drive. The way you care for this paper and one another is inspiring. 

I wish everyone could see the time and effort you put into what you do, whether it’s the relationships you foster within your section, your willingness to take on extra projects or your commitment to high-quality ethical journalism. 

Without your hard work and time, this paper would not function. You make me excited to see what the Cynic will accomplish in the years to come. 

You have turned around my experience with the Cynic in a way I didn’t think was possible.

To Eamon: thank you for pushing me to be co-EIC with you. I am forever grateful for your hard work and willingness to dream big. Thank you for balancing me out and being my rock this semester. I hope the seeds we planted continue to blossom.

Thank you, Zoe. Thank you, Maxine. Thank you, Andrew. Thank you, Ayelet. Thank you, Grace. Thank you, Nick. Thank you, Emily. Thank you, Annalisa. Thank you, Molly. Thank you, Charlotte. Thank you, Mia. Thank you, Allison.

I am so proud of you and can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the future, at the Cynic and beyond.

Thank you for making it so hard to say goodbye.

All of my love always,

Grace

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Grace Visco, Co-Editor-in-Chief
(She/her) Grace Visco is a senior double majoring in secondary education and Spanish with a minor in dance. She got her start at the Cynic as an opinion staff writer when she was a first-year and later served as assistant opinion editor during her sophomore year. She took on the role of opinion editor last fall. After a brief hiatus from the Cynic while studying abroad in Granada, Spain, Grace is back at the Cynic as co-Editor-in-Chief. Outside of the Cynic, Grace works as the communications intern for UVM’s school of world languages and cultures. In her free time, Grace enjoys dancing, journaling, taking (hot girl) walks, wearing pink pants, drinking bluephoria yerba mates and spending time outside. Email [email protected] to get in touch with Grace.
Molly Parker, Illustrations Editor
(She/her) Molly Parker is a senior studio art and anthropology double major from Hopedale, Mass. She had been a member of the illustrations team since the spring of 2020 before becoming editor of the section in the spring of 2023. Molly also creates prints and zines that she displays in the Burlington area as well as her hometown. Apart from illustrating and creating art, she loves watching horror movies, cooking and crocheting. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Molly.