Letter from the Editor: Next to normalcy

We can never go back to the way things were before, but we can always hope to be better in a “new normal.”


Charlotte Mauger

Jessica Barker in the newsroom, photographed August 29, 2021. (Photo/Charlotte Mauger)

Jessica M. Barker, Editor in Chief

Dear Vanderbilt,

My name is Jessica Barker, and I am the Editor in Chief of The Vanderbilt Hustler for the coming academic year. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what this year will look like for us; yet, I remain excited. Classes and social events are back “in-person,” but the delta variant continues to take over our everyday lives. The world returns “back to normal,” but this new normal doesn’t feel the same as it did before.

Ironically, change has been the one constant throughout my time here… I had no idea what the transition from high school to college would actually be like; my only exposure to college life was through TV because my parents had never been to college. My parents got me through the transition to the best of their ability, and I’m so thankful for that. Then, totally unexpectedly, I said goodbye to my mom for the last time. That shock was followed by the start of a pandemic, which changed all of us, forever. Through it all, one thing did manage to remain constant. I always loved to tell stories, and I especially loved hearing other people’s stories. My love for that hasn’t changed at all.

We have shared stories here at The Hustler since 1888, and no matter what happens during the unpredictable year ahead, we will continue to do so. We hope to be stewards of stories, and we are excited to open our ears to all of yours. We invite you to share your truth with us in any way that is safe and comfortable for you, whatever that looks like. I’m excited about all of the different ways we share stories here, through everything from podcasts to editorials to all of the columns and articles in between. I’m also excited about all of the potential we have to grow in our ability to tell stories.

With so many new Commodores, there are endless possibilities to learn about each other, and I cannot wait to learn even more about the people that I walk past on campus everyday and make it the place it is today. The Hustler is committed to publishing as many stories as possible from as many corners of campus as we can. If there is a story you want to tell, please reach out to us, and we will find a way for you to share it with the world. I wish you the best year ahead, and I wish you power in sharing your truth. May we never stop learning from each other.

Anchor down,Jessica Barker's signature

Jessica M. Barker