There it sits, patiently waiting to be discovered. Its hue feels like home. Its pages are thick and firm. It is found layered under piles of old, washed-out photos and boxes of clothes you will never wear. It is under sweaters your grandma gave you, old crafts your mom had you keep from elementary school and shoes that are a little too snug on your toes.
It has been buried for 10 years. It has been there, stuck in time, waiting for you. It is a time capsule. It is a past memory. But, it is so much more than that. It is your life. It resembles the person you used to be, how you have grown and where you are going in the future.
It is 336 pages of you. Yes, you. Your University. Your friends, who, during that time, became your family. It bleeds green and white. It shows your defeat. It shows your effort and time, the tears it took to be standing where you are today. It shows us never settling.
It is one book.
Yet, it is so many things.
Tower Yearbook has been on campus since the 1920s. In the past, it caused riots on campus, was set on fire and dumped in Colden Pond. But it has also been praised beyond belief in the college journalism world.
Tower Yearbook has been a pacemaker finalist for the past 39 years. It has won many awards, including Best of Show, over the years and is well known around the country by other yearbook organizations.
Tower Yearbook’s 2015 book, “IN” won a Pacemaker award and received a plaque at the Fall Associated Collegiate Press Conference in Washington D.C. A Pacemaker is known as the Pulitzer Prize of college media. It is the greatest award a yearbook can achieve.
A new book is distributed every year in the spring. It captures the biggest and most emotional moments in Bearcat history. It is the students’ book.
When you finally dig up your yearbook and dust it off, you are looking at a moment in time. The Tower staff does not produce this book for the 20-year-old you. They are producing a book for you 10 years from now when you miss Maryville, when you miss your best friend who lives across the country and when you want to show your future children what mommy and daddy were like in college. This book is for the future.
Yes, the Tower staff is that good. They can tell the story of the past for the future.
“I not only like yearbook,I love it,” Tower Yearbook designer Kris Hudson said. “I’ve always been fond of the idea of creating something that ties the memories of the year together. In 10, 15 or 20 years down the road (it) will be so important.”
Our yearbook is a portal into our college years on this campus. It speaks the everyday truth.
“Yearbooks keep us connected to our school, which ultimately shaped us into who we are.” Hudson said. “Northwest is huge on making sure students feel connected, and I believe the Tower Yearbook does a great job of bridging that gap.”
This year, a staff of 16 is going to show how the University is “Without Limits.” How we, as a school, fight for what is ours and we break the barriers of expectations set for us. We go beyond.
Our sports, our organizations, our people. We reach. We strive and we set our own limits, which are never ending.
“Tower has opened so many opportunities for me,” Managing Editor Elizabeth Brown said. “I have been able to meet many different people and travel to many different places through it. It has been able to let me create and express myself through something that I never thought I would continue doing. I am very thankful for Tower.”
Tower Yearbook themes have varied over the years from “Break,” to “Things Change” and now “Without Limits.” There is always a creative and new way to look at and record history of a year at Northwest. The University is always advancing and new things are arising; every moment is worth recording. New students come in, seniors graduate and before you know it, you are forgetting this life.
Students get busy, get a real job, move to a new area and Maryville is just a used-to-be home in the back of their minds.
That is why yearbooks are important. Not to look cool or to just charge you $37. It is so you can remember. So you can live this flash of time over once more.
That book will sit in your closet. You will glance at it in the spring, and it will go away with all of the rest of your junk as you move apartments or go back home.
But, years from now, it will be there. You will pick it up because the colors are familiar and the texture of the cover feels like something of a past dream. You will open it and see you are in the group photo on page 234. Your college roommate is on page 26 and Bobby Bearcat is on the front smiling his snaggle-tooth grin at you. Then you will smile back.
Your mind will race back to 2016, when life was good and college was simple.
So when you get your yearbook this spring, glance at it because “Without Limits” is going to be over the top. And then, throw it in your closet. I dare you.