Originally published — Jan. 2, 2018
Winter vacation is over. It’s time to get back in the saddle. If you’re like us, you feel like a flaccid stalk of boiled asparagus right now.
It’s never easy coming back from a break.
But if you’re the kind of person who draws energy from exciting announcements, strategically-timed unveilings, and carefully considered rebranding campaigns, have we got some good news for you.
This new year also marks the beginning of a new stage in our publication’s history. As the editorial arm of The Best Schools (TBS), we’ve done our best to address the issues that we think are important to you. We called ourselves TBS Magazine — pretty straightforward.
But a lot has changed since we published our first piece back in May 2014 (For you diehard TBS Magazine trivia buffs out there, it was The 25 Best Majors for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.)
Anyway, much has changed, not just about us and what we do, but about the culture around us, about politics, about social identity, about how you get your information, and how you learn. Online education is no longer an abstract concept promised by technologists and entrepreneurs. It’s both a real, competitive, and essential stream of higher education and an enveloping, permeating, all-encompassing way of describing the way we live our lives today.
We’re always online. We’re always learning. We’re always enveloped by it.
More Than a Magazine...But Kind of Still a Magazine
I won’t patronize you by describing what the internet is. I assume you get it by now. I’ll tell you what it isn’t, though. It isn’t a magazine.
No offense to the “us” of just last month, but the idea of a magazine is now both abstract and outmoded. I mean, we're still kind of a magazine. We've got articles and all. But we're more than that.
Online education doesn’t come from a flat page. It comes from the sense that however and wherever you attend school, you are a part of a community, a campus, a collegial atmosphere. Whether you do it online, on-campus, or on an offshore oil rig with a boutique, accredited, certification classroom welded into its hull, you are learning as part of a larger scholastic tradition.
That is the beauty and the promise of higher learning; the access it gives you to this enveloping experience, the experience of standing in the middle of a place buzzing with ideas, energy, laughter, activism, fashion, angst, and determination. A lot of schools call this place “the quad.” That’s what we’re calling it too. From the ashes of TBS Magazine (we didn’t really burn it down), we bring you The Quad.
Why The Quad?
First, there’s the literal meaning: a quad is a place of gathering, an on-campus destination for ambitious collaboration, spirited debate, recreational procrastination, idle political chatter, purposeful social organization, informal scientific hypothesizing, and pamphlet-friendly photo ops. Well, if the internet is like a giant college campus, The Quad is a space just for you, brimming with activity, ideas, and energy.
The secondary meaning of quad comes from the Latin root, quattuor, meaning “four.” (Obviously, we didn’t have to break out the Latin, but we like how smart it makes us sound, so just go with it, OK?) Anyway, even if today’s classroom doesn’t have borders or walls, it does have pillars: four of them to be exact. (Actually, we prefer to call them corners because it works better with our metaphor — pillars, quadrants, corners — whatever. There are four of them:
Online Education: We’ll stay on top of developments, innovations, and trends in online education. When it comes to online learning, your opportunities are fairly limitless. So are the related topics we’ll tackle.
Student Life: From campus safety, student loans, and athletics, to Greek life, community service, and dorm survival, you have of a lot on your mind. We’ll take some of the pressure off with helpful tips and distracting sarcasm.
Policy: When lawmakers make laws, they do so with your future at stake. We’ll offer our insights on developments in education policy so you have the knowledge to defend and advance your interests.
Pop Culture: We know how important pop culture is to your life, your worldview, and how you relate to others. We’ll focus on the music, film, art, athletics, consumer fads, and fashions that give your educational experience color, creativity, and the promise of infinite possibility.
We believe that in order for education to be meaningful, inspiring, and lasting, it must be personal. With that, we invite you to make The Quad your very own, a place where you can learn while you live, work, and play.
Oh Yeah, and Happy New Year!
Seriously, we’re huge fans of the New Year. We’re big on resolutions. We get to that next gear in the gym — for like a week. We take on the new calendar with annoyingly wide-eyed optimism.
So we would be remiss not to congratulate you as you embark on another spring semester. As we return to our courses, lecture halls, and that Chinese takeout dish we accidentally left festering in our dorm micro-fridge, the frost is crystallizing on our windows. That’s my poetic way of saying it’s balls cold out there right now.
But then, the promise of spring is right around the corner. Even if the good cheer of the holiday season is now behind us, so is the solstice. The days get longer from here on out. It’s only a matter of weeks before pitchers and catchers report for baseball’s spring training. So fear not, we’ll be here with you through the long, gloomy days of winter and we’ll stow away in your carry-on for spring break.
We’ll be with you all semester and beyond. After all, we promised an enveloping experience — in a non-creepy way, of course.
And with that, we welcome you to The Quad and to spring semester 2018.
Let’s make the most of it!