Finding the Evergreen on anesthesia my first semester


LANCE LIJEWSKI, Evergreen photographer

I met my first newsroom deadline doped up on local anesthesia and barely able to speak.

I was a freshman, maybe a week deep into the fall semester, and I was given my first deadline. So I conveniently scheduled wisdom teeth surgery the same morning.

Everything was out of sorts. I’d spent a couple of hours wandering around Pullman trying to remember where my dorm was. I hadn’t even spent a full month living on my own and I was already in trouble.

I remembered where the newsroom was, though. I also couldn’t get my deadline out of my mind. I was so excited. With a couple of minutes to spare, I arrived promptly for a readout with our managing editor of my first article draft.

I was half-alive. She could tell. We made it through the readout before she asked me what was up. I told her through a swollen jaw that I just had all four wisdom teeth pulled. She laughed and told me I shouldn’t be there. I was sent home.

The next morning, I woke up beside a $300 guitar I didn’t have before and a gut wrenching feeling I was not working at The Daily Evergreen anymore. It was a whirlwind first experience.

Here we are, nearly four years later, and I’m still with newspaper, somehow. Thank God.

Countless little stories like this have made up my entire college career. If it wasn’t for my experience in this newsroom, I am positive I wouldn’t have made it through to graduation.

I started as a reporter. Sometimes, I wrote columns. I did whatever my editors told me. Within four months, I was the editor for the life section while writing articles and columns occasionally, too.

I dove head first into an award-winning crew, and they were crafting me to be the best journalist possible. I thought this was an incredible and awesome privilege.

Eventually, over the years, I ran news, took photos and became editor-in-chief for a summer. People believed in my ability to be a strong journalist, and they made sure I had the tools to become that.

It wasn’t necessarily easy. I declared three different majors before settling on journalism and media production. I slept through a final exam once and had to retake the class. For a season, I was eating one full pizza a day and carrying around a personal craft for constant access to drip coffee.

Falling in love with my positions in the newsroom while trying to be a good student had constant hurdles. I even took a break from staff for a while to recuperate. That was good.

This newsroom is far from perfect. When you spend more than 40 hours a week producing content, it’s impossible to deny that. You can burn out if you’re not careful.

But we care deeply about each other, we care deeply about WSU and our fellow Cougs, and we care deeply about what we deliver to you every morning. There is an incredible amount of worth in that kind of community. There is an incredible amount of strength in it, too.

When you spend 10 to 15 hours a day with people, you become a family. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. You start to eat the same way. You start to think the same way. You all laugh together, cry together and make the same bad jokes together. It’s bizarre, but also beautiful.

I’m convinced the reason I couldn’t find my dorm back in 2013 but could still find the newsroom was because I already knew my second home was there. Yeah, the anesthesia didn’t help. But still, I instinctively moved toward The Daily Evergreen.

I don’t know where I’ll gravitate toward the next time I’m high off of an oral surgery. The Daily Evergreen set a high standard. It will always have a piece of my heart.