To the class of 2025:
I’ve never written a piece for the Nexus purely from my own perspective before. As a news reporter and editor, my voice is only behind the scenes. I take the stories and insights of others and share them with all of you, but I’ve never been a part of the story myself.
Now, as I enter my senior year at UCSB, I’m writing directly to you.
I’m Katherine Swartz, the editor in chief of the Daily Nexus, and I’m a global studies and film and media studies double major. While the Nexus and school take up most of my free time, my other hobbies include discovering new hiking trails and spending way too much time at the movie theater.
This letter and mail-home print edition are normally targeted toward new freshmen and transfers, but I’m writing to so many more this year.
Sophomores and last year’s transfers have yet to set foot on campus. Juniors have only been in person for two quarters of their time at UCSB.
So while this letter is meant for freshmen, I’m writing now to everyone who calls UCSB and Isla Vista their new home, not knowing much about what that home is like.
It’s impossible to find a person among UCSB’s 26,000-person student body whose life hasn’t been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another. Even though we weren’t together, we all physically and emotionally lived through something that changed us.
Now, we’re closer than ever to being “back to normal” (whatever that means). But we’re not quite there yet.
As I write this at the end of August, masks are once again required indoors. Vaccinations are required for all students, faculty and staff. Most classes are in person, but many will be hybrid with some online instruction.
A lot can change between now and Sept. 23. It’s impossible to know what’s to come in the next month — and the months after that — as we head into the unknown of in-person learning. Those answers are out of our control.
But through it all, the Nexus’ values remain the same. Remote or in person, the hundreds of writers and editors that make up our staff have continued working tirelessly to share the stories of UCSB and Isla Vista with all of you.
Our news team has been busier than ever tracking the spread of COVID-19 in Isla Vista. Sections usually reliant on in-person reporting, like Sports and Artsweek, quickly transformed their coverage for a remote setting. And Nexustentialism still brings us the satire we need more than ever, with headlines like “Despite Record Levels of Nostalgia, Campus Still Ugly.”
For the first time in a year and a half, our doors are once again open! Stop by, pick up the paper and get writing. We need your voices now more than ever.
Even if joining the Nexus isn’t for you, the best advice I can give you as you begin your journey at UCSB is to get plugged in. Find a club or other organization that fits your interests, and you’ll make some fast friends along the way. There are hundreds of opportunities to get involved at a school as large as UCSB, so take advantage of it.
Keep your heads high, don’t sit on the curbs and, above all, wear a damn mask.
Editor in Chief 2021-22
A version of this article appeared on p.1 of the August 26 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.