By Ian Duncan
The first ever JKUAT Student’s Magazine – Insight – was launched during a well-attended ceremony at the Basketball Court this past Friday. A ceremony that saw renowned acts and a few of our own take to the stage. Students got to have a glimpse of what the magazine looked like. And some were happy. And others…well, were too drunk out of their senses to even have any thoughts about it. The magazine was subdivided into such sections as Campus Politics, Love, Relationships, Health, Events Gallery, Inspiration Corner etc. – depending on what tickles your fancy. But what most students don’t know is the amount of work and struggle that we – the Editorial Team – had to put to ensure the success of this magazine. I can’t speak for anybody else, but this is what making the magazine was like for me:
There were nights when sleep evaded me; nights when I lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling, silent, heart beating like a Zulu drum; nights when pressure and anxiety scrambled for space in my thoughts. And then there were nights when sleep came but I chased it away; nights when I stayed up till late, in nothing but my drawers, banging story after story, light from the computer screen blinding my eyes, silence from the still of the night warming my soul.
There were evenings when, no matter how hard I tried, no words would come. They stayed there, at the corners of my brain, wanting to be lured out with sweet nothings like a first year campus girl. On these evenings, I would go out with the boys for a drink – mostly one…okay, sometimes two or three – and then I would stagger back to the digs and pour my emotions out to the keyboard. Most people call their exes or listen to Drake after one too many. Others pee their pants. Me? I write. It’s how I beat the block. Hell, I’m two doubles in right now.
The first thing I learnt about running a magazine is that sometimes people are just too petty to deal with. I once scheduled an interview with this chap who, besides being a student, ran a successful clothing line business. I called him the day before the interview and he said he was cool. An hour to the interview, I call him to find out where he’s at and he goes, “You guy, I’m going out with a few friends of mine. You’ll have to reschedule for another time.” Forget the part about him blowing me off, I was more pissed off about him calling me “You guy.” Like, what, are we, in the ‘80s?
And then, one time, I scheduled a photo shoot with this jamaa and lady – winners of some recently held beauty pageant – who were, initially, intended to appear on the cover of the magazine. So there we are that evening, two hours in, the camera crew has already found the perfect location and are ready to roll. I call the lady and she says, “Give me an hour to freshen up and get my stuff together.” I say, “Whenever you’re ready, Miss. Whenever you’re ready.” Two hours later I call her to find out if she drowned in the shower (by good luck, she hadn’t) and she says, “You know what, I don’t think I can make it to the shoot today.” I remember tears almost welling up in my eyes as I asked, “Why?” She said, “Because of the weather, it’s too cold.” I hang up the phone and thought to myself, “Perhaps she should’ve just drowned in that shower.”
The beauty in being an Editor is that you get to read hundreds of stories. I read stories from disturbed students who just wanted to be heard; I read stories from students who should have been writing for the New York Times; I read stories from students who were still trying to find themselves; I read stories from students who had had their hearts broken and the pieces thrown at their faces; I read stories from students who sounded like they were in love for the first time in their lives; I read stories from students trying out alcohol; I read stories from students battling addiction; I read stories from orphaned students questioning what the world had in store for them; I read stories from chaps who just wanted to get laid.
There were stories I had to re-write – stories so crappy my kindergarten niece could have written better; there were stories I only had to cross the t’s and dot the i’s; and then there were stories that were just perfect as they had been submitted.For two months straight – day and night – I wrote, deleted, and re-wrote stories. I stayed up at odd hours and woke up at cock’s crow to write even more stories. My patience was tested, and my limits were overstretched. And so, when they called me up on that stage during the launch to tell the students about the magazine, I only had this to say;
“It’s been an honor writing this magazine for you guys. My only hope is that you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it for you. Shukran.”
The PDF version of the JKUSA Insight magazine will be uploaded here shortly.