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#Goodbye TNS - You were there for me at my lowest, I struggle to think where I’d be without you

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As The National Student closes its doors at the end of the week, old Sports Editor and current contributor Joe Rindl tells us what the platform means to him.

I hesitate to say what my life would have been like without The National Student; quite possibly I may not have been here to tell you.

Moving to University is one of the most foreign, surreal and difficult things you will do. For many, including myself, it is an occasion to metamorphosis and to transform into somebody else, an opportunity for a fresh start. But the demons that haunted me in my final school years remained and I found myself confined to my bedroom in my student halls from Freshers week to mid-October.

From the outside, it seems desperately tragic, self-formed obstination as I seemed to take pleasure in sabotaging the best years of my life. In truth, depression was certainly a factor. Boredom was also most prevalent.

I was fortunate enough to have enrolled on a successful internship with one of the nation’s leading sports-news outlets that previous summer. Here I had discovered my true passion for journalism, inspired by the charming grassroot articles compiled by those who had mentored me.

And despite my own imitations of their brilliance, I would not be working there again until Boxing Day. It would mean my only exposure to journalism would be the back-to-basics being taught in the early stages of my course.

So yes, it was probably boredom that did it, when in late October I responded to a message in the spam folder of my University email.

It was from The National Student’s Assistant Sports Editor, Luke Chillingsworth. A basic call for new writers for his humble section of the website; a call I immediately responded to.

I was commissioned to write a retirement piece on Premier League journeyman Ricky Lambert. A striker whose otherwise mediocre career saw a late, unimaginable revival which culminated in him becoming a national hero after a last-minute winner for England over Scotland.

That article never made it onto the website, but I was enamoured. Captivated by writing again I soon had my first story published, followed by a first feature and then a second, and then a third.

I was, for the first time since I had started university, truly happy. I went out more as a result; the confidence Luke and Sports Editor George Storr had shown towards me stayed with me, and still does to this day.

 

As I look back at my writers’ profile I fill up with prideful tears. If you want to improve your skills with the pen you must read more and write more. The National Student gave me a platform seemingly tailored to my needs, endless stories were commissioned in an authentically wholesome environment.

I embraced my inner Nick Hornby as I retold tales of Salford City’s rise up the football pyramid, imitated Adrian Gill while exploring New York’s homelessness and channelled Brian Sewell describing the terrible unemployment rates among disabled adults.

I improved inexplicably as a journalist thanks to the supportive, sub-editing of Luke, George, Opinion Editor Gursimran Hans and Editor Lucy Miller.

After a year I took on the reigns as Sports Editor. Influencing newcomers as others had inspired me. I saw writers grow exponentially, develop and nurture their own unique styles. The collaboration work we did as a team still elates me, it was exceptionally good journalism from all sides.

I am so proud to say I was responsible for introducing the latest Assistant Opinion Editor Ciaran Hanvey and Assistant Technology Editor George Simister to the platform. Two very talented journalists.

In the last few months as a writer for The National StudentI spoke with numerous celebrities thanks to unprecedented help from Editor Camille Dupont and Culture Editor Caitlin Clark.

I will always remember the joy I felt when Camille organised an interview for me with Tour de France winning cyclist Vincenzo Nibali or how Caitlin told me she teared up when she read my article on Dreamworks animator Simon Otto. Or, much later, the delight I felt as my friends and family raved over my piece with comedian Ed Byrne.

As I sit here now, knowing that The National Student will soon cease to exist, I remember an old technique I once stumbled across while finding meaning searching for my own depression symptoms late one night:

Whenever you feel down you should look at the bigger picture. What have you done in the last year, the last two years, the last five years, which you would never have expected to have done? Now, what will you do in the next few years that you would never expect to do?

It works for me when I look back. Hopefully, it does when other contributors do so too. When remembering The National Student in years to come, I will remember that lonely day in October when I first responded to that email, knowing that it could very easily change my life for the better.

Thank you for keeping me happy TNS. 




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