30: Associate Life&Arts editor/Carly Rae Jepsen enthusiast wonders what to do with all this free time

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Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | 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 The Daily Texan. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (-30-) to denote the end of a line.

When I first applied to join the Texan, UT-Austin was the last place I wanted to be.

New York was supposed to be my new home. Instead, I was at UT as an undeclared freshman, brimming with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.

I wondered if I was capable of stringing together words in the way many of my idols seemed to do so effortlessly and beautifully.

It only took one semester for The Texan to convince me I could.

At first, everything about reporting felt foreign and terrifying. Before my tryout piece, I’d never written a true journalistic piece in my entire life. Still, I couldn’t help coming back each week, absorbing my editors’ advice and continually pushing myself out of my comfort soon.

Man, was it worth it.

The Texan brought people in my life who I’d only dreamed of meeting. I spoke with Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm and Edgar Wright on a SXSW red carpet. I interviewed gems such as a girl who was stranded in the New Zealand wilderness, a local food truck turned-restaurant-owner and more — all of whom taught me to believe in the power of stories and the words that could be used to tell them.

But even then, nobody taught me more than the people surrounding me in the dingy, rodent-infested basement.

Elizabeth, Katie and Cat: Though I was initially incredibly intimidated by you all and the seemingly endless wisdom you exuded, I owe you three so much for helping me rebuild my confidence bit by bit, story by story. Thank you.

Charles: You’re the most stubborn and pretentious person to edit with — besides Chris — but I have to give you credit for making my first time covering SXSW a hell of a lot easier. Thanks for teaching me the ins and outs of the festival and navigating the late night bus routes back to West Campus.

It wasn’t until my second and third semesters when I’d meet the three people I’d share countless times of stress and laughter with: Mae, Morgan and Justin.

Mae: You, Morgan and I jumped into our reign over L&A with absolutely no clue as to what we were doing, but I can’t think of anyone else who could’ve taken on the role of head editor that semester as efficiently and diligently as you. You’re my Chinese soul sister and the produce princess, always.

Justin: I’m envious of how easy it is for you to craft webheads and make the dullest articles humorous. Even on the most stressful editing days, I know I can count on you to blast “Cut to the Feeling” and Taylor Swift or place Porg faces anywhere you can. The sexy fish man/woman debacle won’t ever be forgotten.

Morgan: I never would’ve thought that going to our first DT party together would result in such a lovely friendship. I am so incredibly grateful to have had you by my side through our two semesters running the section together, growing as writers, editors and individuals. I have yet to meet someone who can create ledes as effortlessly as you or who has as much tenacity after pulling consecutive all-nighters as you. It’s going to be a real, tearful shit show saying goodbye to you and the section.

Peter: Thank you for being a guiding light and a fountain of wisdom for us all. I don’t know what we would do without you.

No matter how much I rag on The Texan, I can’t help but reflect on how much it has given me. While it was stressful, and I pushed myself to limits I never had before, The Texan never quite seemed like a workplace. It was a home.