Editor-in-Chief chugs final Bubbl’r


Barb Benish / The Advance-Titan– Owen Peterson started writing for the Advance-Titan in 2019 before becoming the opinion editor a year later. He then served as managing editor for the Spring 2020 semester and was then elected editor-in-chief for his final semester at UWO.

Owen Peterson, Previous Editor-in-Chief

I don’t want to write this sendoff. If it were up to me, I would gladly continue to devote all of my Tuesday nights to causing chaos, having fun and occasionally producing a newspaper with everyone at the A-T. 

Is this needlessly hyperbolic? Yes, of course it is. But when you’re essentially forced to leave behind the fluorescent-lit Reeve Union basement dungeon you called a home for four years and say goodbye to all its wonderfully eclectic occupants, I think you’re allowed some damn hyperbole. 

I started out with the A-T right away my freshman year, opting to write for the opinion section, since I only wanted to write movie reviews. Thanks to the guidance of opinion editor Leo Costello, though, my horizons were quickly broadened and I covered and commented on all the quirks of college living. 

All went swell into that spring semester, that is, until a little ol’ pandemic came out of nowhere and got everyone sent home. Despite not doing anything for the paper while stranded at home, I was fortunate enough to return in the fall to an offer to be the new opinion editor.

On my first night, after stumbling my way through my impromptu InDesign crash course, I capped off the night by accidentally deleting my entire page at 12:30 in the morning. 

Despite this calamity, the staff stuck with me, and Carter Uslabar in particular inspired me every week to embrace creativity and fun in our work. I like to think this is when I knew the A-T was a place I would happily spend the rest of my college career.

Somehow, I would end up helming the opinion section for the next three semesters. In this time, I went from quiet, self-conscious, off-kilter and overly verbose in my writing to quiet, self-conscious, off-kilter and overly verbose in my writing but with substantially less hair.   

The next semester, though, now managing editor, I like to think myself and the staff as a whole really grew into our own. Coming off of a few semesters of having a bare bones staff and a pretty quiet office, things suddenly started to pick up again. Slowly, the A-T became once again what I found it as – a lively, chaotic hive of stress, creativity and, every once in a while, journalism.

And now, here I am, the least journalistically-adept editor-in-chief the A-T has ever seen, slowly but surely riding out my last few days before being thrust into whatever the hell exists after college. My biggest contribution this semester? Allowing ‘fuck’ to be printed in 80-point font on the front page. I suppose there are worse things to be remembered by. 

Though I’m genuinely gutted I won’t get to be a part of it, I couldn’t be more excited to see the amazing work I know all the editors/staff will do in the next few semesters. I’m not sure I can really express just how grateful I am to the people at the A-T, but I’m sure as hell going to try. 

Dr. Filak recently told me that student media is like a family, and I couldn’t agree more. Looking back, the A-T really did feel like an odd, loveable family, full of awkward holiday parties, irritating relatives, endless inside jokes and ridiculous memories to cherish. Most importantly, though, the familial environment of A-T made it a place to forget all the stress of being a college student and just have a good time. 

I’ve spent so much of my time at UWO either wondering why I’m here or searching for reasons to be happy, and even when I found myself at an otherwise complete loss in those searches, there were always weekly production nights in the office to quell those doubts and make things, even if just for a night, seem so much better. 

I’m not even sure it really hit me until a week or so ago just how weird it would be leaving this all behind. 

Tuesday production nights have been the highlight of my week for almost four straight years, and I know it’s going to be really hard to fill that gap that’s about to be created in my schedule.

It’s really hard to convey to non-A-T people just how special and oddly fun it can be getting to work until 1 a.m. every week with a group of people you love being around, but it really did create some of my favorite, absurdist memories from college. And I wouldn’t have traded that time for anything. 

Besides maybe a lifetime supply of Bubbl’r.

It won’t be easy leaving, but if the A-T has taught me anything, it’s that no matter what you want and plan for in life, it’s all about being able to take any and everything in stride – even if that means threatening the university you currently attend with a lawsuit.

If you didn’t think I would include a cheesy quote in my senior sendoff, you a) are absolutely incorrect in every imaginable regard and b) need to lower your expectations of me immediately. Read it and weep:

“It’s hard to turn the page when you know someone won’t be in the next chapter, but the story must go on.”

The A-T and the amazing people that make it up wasn’t just ‘someone’ or ‘something’ to me, it was everything to me. So, before I turn the final page on what I genuinely believe will be one of the most fondly-remembered chapters of my life, I have a lot of people to thank.

Starting with a quick non-A-T shoutout, thank you Dr. Kelling for almost single-handedly getting me a job and ensuring that I don’t have to navigate the stress of post-graduation unemployment (well, for now). 

Carter and Leo, I can’t thank you enough for not only getting me involved with the A-T, but making me feel like I truly belonged here. I have no doubt that my growth as a writer and person owes itself to both of your encouraging words and invaluable advice.  

Kylie and Cory, even though you two couldn’t be here this semester, thanks for making last semester amazing. Not only did you two do great work at the paper, but I really believe you two helped the A-T become a genuinely fun place to be more than anybody else. I’ve never been more confident that two people would absolutely kill it after college. 

Kyiah and Savannah, thank you so much for not only doing the hardest (yet most thankless) job at the paper, but doing it phenomenally. Needless to say, the Advanced Titan (correct this – I dare you) would probably look a mess without you. 

Nolan and Jacob, I expect you two to shake things up a lot next semester – in the best of ways. Keep being your creative and ambitious selves and exciting things should come. I’m genuinely excited to see what you come up with. 

That being said, I hope sports gets stuck with a half-page ad for the rest of eternity. I live in fear of how much Jacob would write about athletes who have been dead since like 1940 if given that much space. And Nolan, never stop being the greatest entertainment this newsroom has ever seen.

Kelly, I can never thank you enough for freeing me from the unrelenting hell that is the opinion section. Jokes aside, you’ve done an absolutely wonderful job with opinion and have easily produced some of my favorite stories from my time here. Also, never stop using a minimum of like three commas in every sentence you write – I’m convinced it’s the legacy of the opinion section. I hope you can escape opinion sooner rather than later; any section would be lucky to have you. 

Barb, thank you for – for the lack of a more eloquent phrasing – putting up with literal years of my bullshit. I’m sure it wasn’t always stress-free having to deal with me, but I can confidently say that your kindness and leadership are a large part of why I (and everyone else) love the A-T so much. The A-T would be nothing without its unsung hero.

Mattie, thanks for all the Bubbl’r, being a wonderful editor/DJ and also completely ruining my taste in music. I can’t decide if I’ll miss you scowling at me every time I have a minor correction for your page or if my life will be substantially better without that. 

Regardless, I will really miss our constant bickering, although I’m sure everyone else who had to listen to it won’t. I would take this chance to finally apologize for accidentally hitting you with the ball on one of your first days in the office, but that would imply I regret doing it. I like to think you got even with that ornament falling on my head, anyway. Oh, and one last thing: Bonne chance pour faire tes devoirs de français sans moi!

Ayana, I’m just genuinely pissed off that you didn’t become an editor sooner. You’re already an amazing editor after just one semester, so I know you’ll kill it next semester heading the news section. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our short time together, cat videos, trinkets and all (maybe not the outrageously loud burping, though). 

Jokes aside, if I had a dabloon for every time you threatened (justifiably) to beat my ass, I still wouldn’t have enough to pay for the therapy that listening to Mattie talk for ten hours a week has caused me to need. Keep the cat memes coming. 

Hambone “Katie” Sue Pulvermacher, I couldn’t be more happy that you’re the one taking charge next semester. Ever since you were covering for my lack of stories in the opinion section, your work has been phenomenal and I know it’s only going to get better (especially once you stop having Spanish homework). 

Good luck with the A-T next semester – it couldn’t be in better hands. I’m truly excited to see what awesome job you get out of college. Never stop being your stubborn self, and please keep an eye on the rats (Anya and Mattie, as well as the actual ones) for me. Watch out for flying milk cartons on your walk home.

All that being said, I hope that what I lacked in journalistic aptitude I made up for in free Bubblr’s and being a good co-worker (well, y’all can be the judge of that). 

Thank you all for making the last four years so amazing. I promise you it meant everything to me, and I hope you all love it just as much as I did. 

Never stop having fun, paper people.