I stumbled upon The Daily Texan by accident. I was a freshman. I saw a flyer pasted on a bulletin board in the art building calling for tryouts, I stumbled into the fluorescent lights and stale air of the basement, and I stumbled upon my new home.
The basement is where I found a community of individuals who care immensely about the world around them and our place within it. I have made connections with some of the most driven, curious leaders at UT who seek the truth and work incredibly hard to find it, even if they make mistakes along the way.
I used to be afraid of the Texan. I was intimidated each time I entered the basement, very conscious of impressing the people around me. But I’ve realized this place is just a collection of kids who are exactly like me — we were all looking for a place to make mistakes and learn from them.
Not only are the people at the Texan creative, they have taught me to use my creativity in a way that I feel is producing real change.
Sarah-Grace and Kelsey taught me the fundamentals of Life & Arts queen-ship: to write what I believe in and to never let my age undermine my ability. To take ownership of what I do and recognize when I need to ask for help. To flawlessly, unapologetically rock crop tops and nose rings in every situation. To shine. To remember that I will mess up, and it will be OK.
Kat and Sarah and Lauren continue to teach me every day that this place is just the beginning. We have watched each other make mistakes — from overflowing the office coffee pot and eating way too many baked goods to feeling lost and overwhelmed and taking long naps on the decades-old gray couch.
Hannah taught me everything else — that I cannot be afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings; I can only be afraid of letting people stand in my way. That there is a Spotify playlist for every month, every mood and every long night spent editing stories that often felt like they wouldn’t get any better. That the best friendships are formed while waiting in line for fancy pastries at 1 a.m., or when you’re crammed into the trunk of a Smart car on the way to cover South By Southwest.
We have learned how to become better journalists, of course. But more importantly we have learned how to tell the stories that matter.
To Kat ‑ welcome to the L & A legacy. You have worked so hard to be here, and I can’t think of anyone who possesses your wit, know-how or ability to make people listen.
To everyone else still residing in the basement — the people who live there with you are what make this place your home. Learn from each other and keep discovering new things. You are in the best place to begin.