Relaunching ‘The Compass’: A Lesson in Endurance and Understanding

Last semester, the Honors Program took hold of the school’s then-dormant scholarly journal, The Compass. I responded to an email looking for volunteers to help and, after an initial interview, was thrust into a world of copyright clauses and editing decisions. The initial team was comprised of two juniors, two sophomores, and two freshmen all eager to create a magnificent scholarly journal.

We quickly learned that it was not going to be as simple a task as we had first divined, though. We met every Wednesday and some Fridays all semester and, after having established our mission statement, editing process, initial task list, and preliminary timeline, we thought we would be well on our way. And we were! But, every time we started to gain ground it seemed another task would arise. We would add it to the task list. Then, we would change the timeline. And repeat.

All this to say that the first issue of the new Compass is almost ready to go and will finally reach its intended audience following Thanksgiving break. The process of working on The Compass has helped me to understand the complexity of getting things done. It’s rarely as easy as inquiring and receiving an answer. Getting anything accomplished is contingent on things as obscure and varied as the legal requirements (in this case, figuring out who owns the works once they’re published) and website requirements. Logistics like establishing a system for blind review take a boatload of time.

A safe rule? Whatever seems a reasonable estimate of time to get something done, triple it. I have a newfound, unspeakable appreciation for those that complete real-world projects of any kind.