30: It’s the end of an era for L&A editor

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Cat Cardenas has served as a writer, associate editor and editor in the Life&Arts department. She had a brief, crazy stint as summer managing editor, before returning to her home by the basement door.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staff to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in The Daily Texan’s basement office. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (—30—) to denote the end of a line.

I knew I wanted to join the Life&Arts section when I saw the picture of Justin Timberlake pinned to its bulletin board. There were stacks of books and CDs and two girls who seemed impossibly cool at the desk. 

I was supposed to have been at NYU, and when I walked into that office, I was convinced that nothing would ever come close to my New York City daydreams. But, as it turns out, it was always supposed to be UT. It was always supposed to be the Texan. 

This newspaper has given me everything. It’s been my saving grace, the main source of my stress and my home for three years. 

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing with my life, but once I walked down those basement steps, once I resigned myself to spending countless days away from the sun and away from the rest of the campus, I got to travel the world. I spent nights at the Armadillo with Zappa, and I hung out at the punk clubs where SXSW and the Austin film scene were born. The paper took me to the streets of San Francisco and 4,500 miles away to Rio de Janeiro. 

It brought me to Pace Bend Park, where I had one of the best nights of my life. 

Every semester, this paper gave me more than I could’ve asked for and more than I deserved.

Danielle, you made me an infinitely better writer, you showed me what L&A should be and could be and even though I tried, I never could’ve filled your shoes when you left. 

Marisa, since I met you at orientation, we’ve accidentally done everything together. You’ve always dreamed big with me and I hope I run into you our first day at The Boston Globe or The New York Times. 

KT, your unquestioning support and friendship has been one of the best things to come out of this job. We’re both chaotic messes, but I’m so glad we have each other. 

Elizabeth, at first I thought you were just the quiet girl who would churn out 800-word stories at 6 p.m. But then you let out a ridiculous burp. I’m so happy I spent my last semester here with you and KT. I watched you guys go from our best writers to editors, and I seriously couldn’t be prouder of you and everything we accomplished together. 

Megan, I was so excited when you told me you wanted the associate L&A position at Danielle’s grad party. I was less excited when you totally forgot about it a week later. I needed you to balance out KT’s hangriness and hatred of the Kardashians. 

Chris, I never thought I’d be happy to have met the most annoying human being ever. You’re a great concert buddy, podcast partner and adequate music reviewer. You’re the person I complained about the most to anyone who would listen, but the past three years wouldn’t have been the same without you. 

Charles and Brian: You two are some of the most lovably pretentious people I’ve ever met and somehow still far less wrong than Chris — except about superhero movies and The Beatles, respectively.

Peter, you’re the only person who could’ve convinced me to step away from L&A and try to be ME. Thanks for all the life advice that I’ll probably still demand from you even after I’m gone. 

Like everything else I’ve ever written here, I waited until the last possible minute to write this. If I’m being honest, I don’t want this goodbye to be real. But it’s time for a new era in Life&Arts, and I know the section is in great hands. 

I’m leaving, but I want to remember this place. Every detail.

­—30—