Sitting down to write this letter is intimidating like nothing else — I’ve been putting it off for longer than I care to document in print. I’ve reread past letters over and over and over again, trying to figure out where to start. I really don’t know how this one is going to live up to them. 

The problem is, I’ve been at The Varsity for too long to know how to say goodbye to it. I’ve been writing since I was a first-year who was just excited to contribute to something with more readership and organization than my high school paper. By now, I’ve been coming to weekend production for the past three and a half years, and I’ve watched three different volumes of masthead come and go. There’s so much I’m going to miss that I don’t know where to start.

One of the worst parts is that I know this letter won’t be as funny, witty, and perfect as I want it to be. I want it to be perfect: it feels like the least I can give this place. 

It’s not going to be perfect, though, because nothing is perfect: this letter will be messy, sappy, and very human, just like the paper itself. 

When I joined masthead, that was one of the first things I learned: you can trace back anything good about this paper to the passion and care of the people making it. That’s not an original revelation — it’s something I’ve learned from everyone around me, and it’s the scaffolding off of which I’ve built my understanding of this place. 

It’s a lesson that’s been drummed into me over the years with every thoughtfully-worded comment from an editor, every late-night production conversation, every pineapple bun and cup of chamomile tea I’ve received to trick me into going home or getting some rest. I’ve had to learn it multiple times over, with every Varsity volume I’ve worked alongside. Ultimately, that’s what I’m saying goodbye to this year: everyone who made this place what it was.

Before I get too sidetracked with abstractions, I want to thank everyone who’s helped make this volume. To our news team, Jessie, Selia, and Maeve, for giving us the information — and context — we need to understand everything happening on campus. To Georgia, for pulling apart the jargon to explain how this university and this City run. To Eleanor, for taking such care of the opinions people trust us enough to publish. To Alice, for a year of incredibly compelling features, and for leading the team to make two gorgeous magazines and a beautiful handbook. 

To Milena, for reminding us about all of the art — and the artists — around campus that we forget to look for and appreciate during finals season. To Salma, for not only updating us on what’s happening in labs across campus, but giving us something new to talk about at the dinner table every week. To Kunal, for finding a place to spotlight the sports people care about on campus, not just the ones with headline games — and for patiently explaining every single sports term to me.

Thank you to Ajeetha and Kyla in copy — the mitochondria of the paper and the reason we have words to put out every week. To Jessica and Zeynep, for giving us the pictures we need to complete every thousand words. To Arthur, Kaisa, and Olivia in design, for putting everything together at the end of the day into something beautiful. To Olya, for pushing our video section to new heights every week. I am truly so proud of all of you.

Thank you to my management team — Caroline, Mekhi, Shernise, and Andrea. Without your hard work, your sound advice, and your support, I don’t know how I would have gotten through this year. Thank you to Nawa — the other half of my copy telepathy bond — and Jadine — my favourite EIC to right-hand man — for supporting The Varsity from beyond the figurative grave, and for lending me an occasional brain cell. 

Thank you to every volume of masthead I’ve had the privilege of working with over the past few years, and every volume whose shoulders we’ve been able to build on to get to this point: there’s not enough space in this letter to write how grateful I am to all of you. Thank you to Adam, Megan, Diem, and Tahmeed for originally taking me under their wings, showing me the ropes, and teaching me what this place could be. 

Thank you, of course, to everyone who trusted us enough to put your thoughts in this paper — I don’t know how I could possibly express what that means to me, but I appreciate it anew every weekend when I read all of your articles. 

And thank you to every associate and staff member for all of your work — you guys are going to be The Varsity’s future, and I can’t wait to see what that future will look like. I think it’ll be a good one. This year, I’m handing off leadership of The Varsity to Eleanor and her management team — and I’m secure in the knowledge that they’ll do an excellent job of taking care of it. Eleanor has fought hard every weekend to preserve the voices of everyone who’s contributed to our paper, and to represent them fairly and responsibly. I know that her Varsity will be one you can be proud to contribute to.

So that’s that. It may not be the most storied and eloquent of letters, but it hits the important parts of what makes this paper great. 

I know I won’t be able to completely let go of the idea of perfection — to stop taking this too seriously. I’ve had a problem with it long before The Varsity — ask anyone who’s had the misfortune of ever trying to discuss emotional topics with me. I take everything far too seriously, weigh it far too heavily, and think on it for far too long. 

The Varsity’s taught me to get better at that and helped me appreciate the beauty of a story for itself, even if I haven’t polished it up the way I’d like to. But The Varsity is also the first place where all that thought has felt justified. My work here is, to me, some of the most important work I’ve ever done.

In the end, as trite as it seems, that’s because of all of you. Without someone caring enough to read the paper every week, we wouldn’t have a paper to write. I feel uniquely privileged to be able to help build a reputable source of news in an actual local environment, where I know we can make a real and palpable difference. 

The Varsity has a long and storied reputation for being self-serious — trust me, I’ve read through our archives — and I don’t think it’s one we’re going to buck anytime soon. It’s hard not to get tunnel vision when you’re plugged in 24/7 so you can know everything that’s happening on campus; when you’re spending 15 to 30 hours a weekend alone in the same asbestos-filled box behind Robarts, arguing over the same semicolon. It’s hard not to, when you’re in charge of a space that, at its best, is one of the most immediate spaces people can use to talk about the problems they face on campus every day.

This paper is a passion project for everyone here, and that’s why we come in every week to create the paper that we want to have at our school. To the people who read it: I’ve felt lucky this year that I’ve actually had the chance to talk with you guys more directly than ever before. It’s been a privilege — and I’m honoured more than you know every time someone says they read The Varsity. Thank you for caring. 

Ultimately, remember that you’re the reason we’re all here. It’s because of you that we take this silly little paper so seriously. So I have one favour to ask of you — please keep talking to The Varsity, so that we can keep making this a better paper. We can only serve our community better when you tell us how.

So write in. I know The Varsity will want to listen. It’s that kind of place.

— Artie Kronenfeld

Editor-in-Chief, Volume CXLIV