UTM’s English and Drama Student Society (EDSS) publish an academic and literary journal annually. This year, their journal With Caffeine and Careful Thought is publishing Volume 6: (Dis)connected. The Medium sat down with this year’s editor-in-chief Raphaela Pavlakos, who is a fifth-year English specialist and Professional Writing and Communications major, to discuss the responsibilities and challenges of being editor-in-chief, the general process of a student-run publication, and this year’s theme.

Pavlakos is a full-time student, the consulting editor for PWC’s Mindwaves and Compass, a weekly volunteer at her church, as well as a teacher for Greek dance. On top of school, work, and life, Pavlakos still makes time to continue her love for reading novels and poetry. As an avid reader, she just finished reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea and is currently enjoying some of William Blake’s poetry.

With Caffeine and Careful Thought is a student-run publication. Pavlakos explained that they “run under the English and Drama Student Society. We do not have a faculty advisor, which is different for some of the departmental publications. This means that it’s run by the students. So, students edit, and it’s for students. So, you cannot publish with us if you are not a current UTM student.”

Each year the journal employs a different publisher, in hopes of finding the most cost-effective company. Pavlakos knows who to reach out to by doing research and even asking previous editor-in-chiefs for advice. Considering her experience with Mindwaves and Compass, she also reached out to their faculty advisor for advice about the publishers he uses for classroom textbooks. As editor-in-chief, she does not feel unguided in this process as she can always reach out to the EDSS team for support, she stated, “it’s only as lonely a job as you make it.”

According to Pavlakos, when she thinks of the theme “(Dis)connected,” it is “everything that’s in the in-between. So, it could be transition, it could be liminality, it could be the transgressing of boundaries, it could be the convergence of two opposites and binaries. Just kind of everything that doesn’t fit perfectly in the box.”

Prior to finalizing this year’s theme, Pavlakos wanted to explore “identity,” but it did not make the cut. Pavlakos was brainstorming about a theme which revolved around origin stories and appearance versus reality. She also thought about focusing on binaries, but felt that it “would be too restrictive, so it kind of opened up to (Dis)connected.” The process of choosing a theme was her decision but she reached out to the EDSS team to ask for opinions and feedback.

When asked what the most challenging part about choosing the pieces for volume six was, Pavlakos explained, “I wanted to come up with as broad a theme as I could, just to get as many submissions as possible, which was totally what happened. The problem with that was a lot of really amazing, fantastic writers submitted stuff; the writing was great but didn’t fit as close with the theme as other pieces did. I was looking for quality but also how well it fit with the theme.” The journal received more than 30 submissions but selected 10 for publication.

Due to the broadness of (Dis)connected, the journal will have pieces which engage with futurism, fantasy, dystopian worlds, and identity experience.

As editor-in-chief, Pavlakos’s biggest challenge when working with editors and writers is communication. She stated, “communication is the biggest challenge for any publication at any point. Once you’re working with students, everyone has their own crazy schedule and everyone’s crazy schedule doesn’t line up with each other. Being able to get a hold of people, like working around deadlines can be quite a challenge.”

Pavlakos explained that this publication is “very loose [and] very broad. You’re going to pick it up and read about things that you may never have considered to be part of (Dis)connected. Whatever comes to mind [about (Dis)connected] it will be that and so much more.”

With Caffeine and Careful Thought’s (Dis)connected will be released on April 7 in the MiST Theatre at their launch party. Journals will be available for purchase on that date and by contacting EDSS thereafter.

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