One of the first things students learn in the introduction to journalism class is how to be a storyteller. Journalists must be able to turn to the person to their right and explain what it feels like to be the person to their left. We must fully embody another experience without letting our own emotions get in the way. We are simply the channel from one destination to another.
That was our mindset when we first started writing What it Feels Like stories back in 2015. We can transfer an experience from one person to another. Giving these stories their own category took away some of the unnecessarily harsh journalistic tones and gave staff creative freedom to best relay an experience. The idea took off as a trademark Tom Tom spread. The WIFL tab on Sequoit Media scrolls far down, including stories ranging from “What it Feels like to be Raised by a Heroin Addict” written by Tom Tom Alumna Mollie Wagner to Alumna Emily Hanes’ “What it Feels Like to Have a Resting Bitch Face.”
Last spring, we started working on our What it Feels Like magazine. Then, March 13, 2020 hit. Needless to say, we never got around to publishing these stories. We didn’t have the heart to cut them altogether; too much emotion and hard work went into them. We settled on keeping them in our back pocket, ready to be used when the time was just right. Now, over a year later, these stories will finally see the light of day.
Whether recycled from last year or fresh from the drawing board, this edition of The Tom Tom plunges readers into the experiences of current students and staffers. Editor Kourtni Weldon and Staffers Kara Galarneau and Julia Galway each tell individual stories revolving around mental health in “What It Feels Like Ride the Rollercoaster,” “What It Feels Like to Fight an Uphill Battle” and “What It Feels Like to Hate the Numbers on the Scale’ respectively. Editor Lena De Voreand Staffer Gabrielle Debevec talk about family in “What It Feels Like to Have a Parent in the Military” and “What It Feels Like to be the Misfit.” Editor Beatriz Warnes, Staffers Chloe Barbarise, Elizabeth Kamman and Diya Schon step into someone else’s shoes to tell their story in “What It Feels Like to Not be a Social Justice Warrior,” “What It Feels Like to be Lost and Found,” “What It Feels Like to Lose Someone to COVID-19” and “What It Feels Like to Have Your Life Planned Out for You.”
From everyone at the Tom Tom, thank you for reading, and as always, we hope you enjoy.