It is about that time of year when the Drew community begins to say goodbye to current seniors. The Drew Acorn wants to highlight the important work of Emma-Li Downer, a senior majoring in English, emphasizing in writing & communications, and philosophy and minoring in creative writing and media & communications, as she is about to graduate this May.
Downer has been a part of The Acorn since the start of her junior year in 2021. Initially joining as an opinion piece writer, she later wrote a hit piece for the Student Life and Arts section about K-dramas. She quickly volunteered to be assistant Student Life and Arts editor and moved up the ranks to become the Student Life and Arts section editor at the beginning of her senior year.
As graduation approaches, we sadly must say goodbye to Downer as she moves on from Drew and onto greener pastures. As such, we wanted to interview her about her thoughts, experiences and insights as the Student Life and Arts editor and a Drew senior.
Why did you want to join the Acorn?
“I was really interested in the aspect of editing. I had already written three or four articles for the Acorn and I had been trying to get the right mindset to do the writing. I’m a creative writer in terms of fiction, sometimes a bit of non-fiction, a bit of poetry. But I haven’t found a groove for journalism, and I found that out as I wrote the articles. But I liked the idea of editing, and when they said they were looking for someone, I was like, ‘Oh, I can do that.’”
It isn’t much of a secret that you are on the board of many student communities and clubs here at Drew. How do you keep up with the workload?
“I do and I don’t! I keep up a lot with my things because a lot of my life revolves around it. Some people say you need a work-life balance or that you have to compartmentalize your work and what makes you happy and stuff like that. A lot of what I do overlaps a lot; I can work, or at least think about things like classes or clubs, and keep on going relatively OK until I go to bed. And I don’t do too many extracurricular activities beyond what I am leading, because what I lead is what I enjoy. Much of it also comes from support from my friends: Teddy, my assistant SLA editor has been amazing, Nicole and the rest of the Acorn editorial board have been amazing with support, Insanity’s Horse and their board have been amazing, really my whole friend group has.”
What has been your favorite Acorn memory?
“I mean generally, the publishing nights for when we do in-print. The in-print nights last longer and they sometimes cause a little bit more silliness and funniness amongst everyone there and this type of community is a different experience than my other clubs. So I very much like this camaraderie aspect to it. I think, if I have to rank experiences, going off the book to lunch with the editorial staff was one of my favorites!”
Is there any advice you want to give future Acorn members or future Drew students?
“Future Acorn members: don’t hesitate to reach out and be friendly with the fellow Acorn people you’re working with. That also can apply to Drew students as well! For Acorn specifically, Nicole is a wonder, all the editors are wonders, the copy-editorial staff are wonders, everyone who works there is amazing and they enjoy being there. Another piece of advice: don’t do what isn’t working for you. I was trying to write opinion articles at the beginning of my time here. I realized it just wasn’t working for me, so I changed. Could I keep doing it now? Possibly. Do I want to? Not with how much is on my plate. Do what you can manage; I can manage all this stuff because I want to. Do not do what I do if you do not want that kind of workload. So I guess, know yourself. And part of that comes with experiencing things, to learn about yourself. Do what you know you can do, but don’t be afraid to explore.”
Is there anything you would like to add or highlight?
“As someone from the Acorn, keep reading the Acorn! People work so hard every Thursday night to get this published and the writers work so hard every week to get the articles to the editors. Non-Acorn related, pick up copies of Insanity’s Horse! They will be out around campus by the time you read this!”
We would like to end this article with a massive thank you to Downer for her essential work here at the Acorn. Her dedication and hard work influenced how the entire newspaper operates and have made the Student Life and Arts section what it is today. The fact that she does all of this while still juggling her other obligations is nothing short of superhuman.
Having her on the team was an important part of creating our community, and without her there will be a large hole left in all of our hearts. Her presence brings a special spirit and energy into the room. This energy, coupled with her dedication and kindness, will send her to incredible places.
We’re all incredibly sad that she’ll be leaving us, but we’re certain that she’ll shine in whatever field she pursues! So thank you Downer for all your incredible work, and we hope to see your name as a part of a publishing company roster soon. We love you!
Teddy Droar is a junior majoring in psychology.