30 Column

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.

I never thought this day would come, but here I am. 

These past two years with the Texan have been more than I could ask for. I grew not only as a writer but also as a person. Every column I wrote and every post I made was a thrill that is indescribable. I’m so sad to be leaving the basement but I am also excited for what the future holds. 

The Texan gave me a place in this enormous campus where I always felt welcome. I still remember how much I stumbled over my words at tryout and how much I second-guessed myself about my pitches. But I also remember how badly I wanted a position on this staff. Gaining confidence in my ideas, in the words I put out into the world, is every journalist’s goal. Thanks to my associate editors, my fellow columnists and social media staffers, I was able to accomplish that. 

Trying to put what writing means to me in a few words would not do it justice. When I saw my first column published, I could not believe it. My name on a published newspaper was something out of a dream — but I did it.* Granted, it wasn’t the perfect column. I wrote “too pretty” and used way too many words. But as that first semester went along, editing words out got easier and less hours were spent trying to perfect a column. I came back every semester with a smile on my face because I knew I’d walk down those basement steps to find a familiar face and new challenges. I encourage everyone who wants to have a voice on this campus to join The Daily Texan. You will walk away a better writer, a better person,and with some allergies thanks to the accumulating dust in the basement, but you know — you win some, you lose some. 

*Thank you to my biggest supporter — mom — who sent this first column to everyone. Everyone, I hope you liked it and I’m sorry for the spam. 

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.

Three consecutive upsets. Down went Ellie, Trent, then Peter. Last night was the last time I would play ping-pong in the office, one of the many things the Texan has introduced to me over the years.

Five semesters ago, a Facebook post brought me, a second-year student interested in photography, down the dark, musty basement steps everyone always has to mention in these things. Not sure if it was Daulton’s incredibly welcoming and cheerful demeanor or my eagerness to shoot that made me want the gig. If you’ve met Daulton, you know the answer. All jokes aside, I’m forever grateful he took me on even if most of my takes as a tryout consisted of a measly 8 to 15 photos.

Rachel took a chance on me and reached out to make me a senior photographer. Josh kept me around and strengthened the department. Zoe made me an associate photo editor and really made it feel like family around here.

I’ve shot baseball games alongside Roger Clemens. I’ve sang “The Eyes of Texas” with Kevin Durant. I’ve photographed former vice president Joe Biden, ran up and down the sidelines of DKR while questioning Texas’ play-calling with Quan Cosby, pushed by riot shields and charging horses while covering protests. I’ve experienced the madness of NCAA basketball in March watching Northern Iowa escape defeat with a half-court buzzer beater… 

Yeah, in the thousands of photos I’ve shot for the Texan, and roughly 800 published, there are so many memories. However, they all pale in comparison to the memories and relationships I’ve made in the office. In the last five semesters, The Texan has become a home with a great family that has made my college experience worthwhile. As each semester went by, I told myself it’d be the last, but the people always brought me back.

Josh, Zoe, Cano, Mary and Rachel: I hate each of you for deciding to leave at the same time, but thank you for being such an integral part of making The Texan my home. I couldn’t have asked for a better staff to work alongside with. Photo doesn’t feel like photo without you all.

Trent, Keshav, Drew, Dalton, Matt and Alex: Thanks for the jokes, the ping-pong, the great assignments, and mostly thanks for giving me something to look forward to every Sunday morning by playing pickup.

Ellie: Thanks for being such a pleasure to work with these last two semesters while I’ve been an associate. I’m excited to see where you end up. There’s an office of people looking up to you and I’m sure you’ll excel in everything you do.

Juan: Thank you for carrying the heavy load as photo editor this semester. I know it wasn’t easy with everyone leaving, but you still rocked it. Trust your gut and you’ll do great!

Vanessa, Alex, Steven and Kirsten: Thanks for being such great friends this semester, and being my targets whenever I just felt like being sarcastic. I’ll miss our hangouts, and I’ll definitely miss all of the video games.

Peter: Thank you for the goods and the ping-pong victories. It seems it was all I ever got.

Alexandria: Thanks for being my rock and putting up with me living at the office, randomly becoming unavailable because I picked up an assignment and not hating me too much for not being in the stands to cheer Texas on with you. 

Thank you to The Daily Texan. 

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.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | 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.

To prepare for writing this column, I put on my special playlist of melancholy music and scrolled through old 30 columns for inspiration. I read through ones of people I admired for the lucky semesters I got to work in this musty basement with them, and those of people who never even knew my name but whose presence I was in awe of when I was just a nervous sophomore working in the copy department.

And yet I was still stuck. Like with everything else in my life, I wanted my 30 column to be absolutely perfect. Tearjerker. Heartwarmer. Pinnacle of all 30s.

But if there’s one thing the Texan has taught me, it’s that perfection is overrated.

It’s the late nights when we weren’t perfect that I remember the most. I remember the collective anguish whenever InDesign crashed half an hour before deadline. I remember spending valuable 9 p.m. time to investigate a possible possum nest in the ceiling. I remember our front-page infographic that got 20k upvotes … on /r/shittydesign.

I remember the really hard days. Staying in the office until 2 a.m. talking about the awfulness of Haruka Weiser’s sexual assault. Rushing into the basement to get to work amid bomb threats and terrifying rumors. Those days, I admired management for their poise, dedication and behavior under pressure. Thank you to Amy, Jackie and Akshay for being my forever role models.

The more I worked here, the more I fell for this ruckus of a basement. The magic of the Texan comes from the nights spent surrounded by people who love to be here despite exams, papers and all the other drama of being a full-time student.

Kirsten, Ryan and Taylor — you’re all rock stars. Can someone please keep Ryan in check once I’m gone? Bella, you’ve been such a spark of energy ever since you joined my copy team, and I’m glad you befriended me even though you found me intimidating.

Sunnie and Mallika, I always look forward to working with you because we talk about everything and anything. Rena, you’re one of the most talented people I know. I can’t wait to be hip artistic ingénues together.

Ellie, I couldn’t have handpicked a better news editor. You’re going to kill it no matter what you do. Juan, my Sagittarius twin — are we friends yet? Please be my friend.

To my AMEs, Natalia and Matthew, thanks for putting up with me. I know I can be anal-retentive — still going to try to crunch the numbers on that deadline Excel sheet — and a mess at the same time, so I appreciate your help more than you know.

To Peter, I know we both hate sentimentality, so I’ll just say this: I couldn’t have gotten through the semester without your guidance. I’ll miss your unique ability to be awkward in almost every situation.

And of course, Laura Hallas. We’re the perfect Harold & Maude pair, and I’m worried I’ll never find another partner in crime as complementary to me. I’m still mad about the matching bangs.

This column is far from perfect. In fact, I have a strong urge to hit ctrl + A and backspace, but I think design would strangle me because this is already overdue and if I don’t submit this then I’ll never submit anything. So I’ll part with what seems like the most apt farewell from a nostalgic, grateful managing editor:

All right. Let’s go make a paper.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | 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.

The second week of my first semester at the University of Texas School of Journalism, I walked into a basement that changed my life forever.

The stairs looked like the scene in any scary movie where the audience yells at the main character, “Don’t go down there,” but, as always, I left common sense behind and chased adventure. Nevertheless, I opened the big, metal door. Instead of finding fear, I found a home.

The first time I heard about The Daily Texan I was 10 years old, on a rainy UT Explore afternoon, when I was handed a flyer as I sought refuge from the rain on my way to the science school. Needless to say, I never found my way there.

On a warm August afternoon almost a decade later, I was ready to join without a clue of what to expect and a shaking fear. But that all went away when Elizabeth came and assured me this was my place, even after my first story turned into a manhunt for sources and an unreadable blur of edits.

Elizabeth, Cat and KT — my first editors, mentors and journalism role models. Thank you for taking a chance on the terrified 18-year-old girl who walked in with dreams of journalism.

The next few semesters, Life&Arts showed me a world of opportunities that reshaped my goals and checked my bucket list a thousand times over. As a senior reporter, each week of 2017 held two new adventures, at least six new friends and more stress than I could have ever imagined.

The Texan allowed me to interview my favorite bands, artists and authors, understand the beautifully weird Austin community through its citizens and celebrate the history and milestones of the University of my dreams. I traveled the world through the eyes of professors and believed in love through the stories of Longhorns in love.

But above all, I found a community — a fellow group of misfit writers that shared the same goals and passions but with entirely different and compelling stories. I was always told it was hard to feel at home at a university with 53,000 people, but I did.

Mae: You made my first stressful semester of senior reporting the most rewarding experience. Thank you for always supporting me.

Morgan: Thank you for always taking my calls, on off days, week days and everything in-between and having patience with this amateur reporter and her late stories.

Daisy: You are the sweetest, kindest editor I could have ever asked for, so thank you.

Justin: Your edits always made my day. I will miss the memes and all the laughs in between.

Peter: Thank you for teaching me to take critiques, learn from my mistakes and become better.

And to all the friends I met along the way, especially my Life&Arts family, thank you for always inspiring me. Collyn, it only took one semester of writing together and a day of you nursing me back to health so I could go to work for our last day of writing together in Belo to feel surreal. Alex, thank you for talking me into applying for Life&Arts that day after FIG, encouraging me through every story and believing in my writing more than me.

Thank you to all of the incredible people that allowed me to tell their stories — my writing would be nothing without your experiences and I do this for you.

At the start of the semester, I had no idea it would be my last. But as my mom once told me, the only permanent thing in life is change. So it’s time for the next terrifying adventure. Through God, I know I won’t find fear, but hope.