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Why do you do that to yourself?

December 9th, 2010

Every week on my way to the newsroom I pass the workout room. I stare at the people on the elliptical machines and shutter at the sweat dripping down their faces. All I can think is: Why on earth would you do that to yourself every week?

I’ve taken health classes so I kind of understand why people go to the gym. However, I have only been to the Corbo Room – it is called a room, isn’t it? – a handful of times. I like to consider my brisk walks to class exercise and I think sweating is gross, so I like to prevent it whenever possible. I’ve also decided that on the rare occasions that I think exercising is a good idea it should be done only early in the morning, so no one will see me.

Today I walked to the newsroom for what will be my last night as Editor in Chief.

Today was also the first time that it occurred to me that those people on the elliptical machines probably looked into the newsroom (or attempted to) on their way to the gym. They most likely saw us staring at the computers and thought: Why on earth do they do that to themselves every week?

They kind of have a valid question.  From an outsider’s perspective we’re always in here, we each write the equivalent of a two-page paper each week, and we still have to go to class.

From an insider’s perspective we can see where they’re coming from too. We’ve been pulling all-nighters, we’ve given up attempting to be healthy, we’ve put in countless hours conducting interviews, we subject ourselves to the criticism of the student body and faculty, and we do it all for free.

What they don’t see, or rather smell, is the disgusting stench from the day old food that lingers in the newsroom. They can’t understand the funny and sometimes offensive photoshopped images of each other that plaster our walls.  They don’t hear the insults we throw at one another, with mostly good intentions. They shouldn’t hear about the trips we take to journalism conferences, where we attend all of the informational sessions.

They can’t see the satisfaction we get from seeing our hard work in print. They don’t see the relationships we’ve formed. They don’t accompany us to interviews where we can proudly talk about our experience working on an award-wining campus newspaper.

So I guess we do it for the same reason those people are on the elliptical. We want to look and feel good, even if we’re the only ones who know it.