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Storytelling enhances the Wooster experience

My time at Wooster has been defined by a deep engagement with storytelling. As an art history and English double major, an editor with The Wooster Voice and as a citizen of this community, I have learned so much in the past four years through stories, their value and the voices which shape them. 

As students, we are constantly curating the nature of our own narratives through the choices we make, from the classes we choose to the people we bring into our lives and the depth to which we allow them to impact us. For me, these past four years have been uniquely formed by stories of serendipity and moments that I did not know would be so memorable until much later. From how I stumbled upon my double major, to how I met my best friends, seemingly small choices have become crucial points in my own story. 

As my senior year comes to an end and the chaos of being a student and doing I.S. has subsided, I’ve had some much needed time to reflect on the stories that have informed my education and personal growth. I have had the distinct honor and privilege of assisting in the creation of a total of 72 issues of The Wooster Voice (also known as the most arduous and extended group project I’ve ever undertaken). This process of producing a weekly newspaper has taught me so much about the role of newspaper in a community as a curatorial culmination of contemporary histories and a way in which to watch our individual narratives intertwine. 

As both a writer and an editor for this publication, I want to urge all of you, whether you are leaving this place or returning in the fall, to be active participants in the story of the College. Pay attention to both what people are talking about, and what they are not talking about. Exercise courage in how you tell stories and how you listen to and receive them. Carry stories responsibly, taking note of all sides and angles, of the voices represented and those which are not. Be mindful of when it’s time to stand up, and when it’s time to step back. Practice both speaking out and making room for others to speak. 

As humans, stories are vital agents of education and empathy, and we all must make a conscious effort to make room for all kinds of stories in a space as unique and vibrant as Wooster’s community. As one-fourth of our student body is renewed every fall, this project of shaping our story is one that is ongoing and that requires us to always be mindful of where we have all been and where we will go.

There is one final piece of advice I would like to leave you all with. At the beginning of my senior year, a wise friend told me something I have carried with me for quite some time now. Right now in Lowry Dining Hall, you have access to more types of cereal in this moment than you will probably ever have again after you leave Wooster. Take advantage of Lowry and its wall of unlimited cereal possibilities while you still can.

Mackenzie Clark, an Editor in Chief for the Voice, can be reached for comment at MClark19@wooster.edu.

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