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.
When Texas lost to Alabama in the 2010 national championship game, I wasn’t even a Texas fan. I had applied to the university, but I casually watched the game hoping for a Longhorn win.
During the game, I remember seeing shots of the sea of fans in burnt orange and my dad said to me, “That could be you someday.”
In a few months, it would be. I chose to leave my home in California to find a new one in Austin. Texas was ranked fifth when I arrived on campus in 2010.
I’m sure other juniors empathize with me, but our three years of Texas football have been sub par. First, the embarrassing 5-7 season. Then, the more acceptable 8-5. Now, Texas is at 8-4 with hopes of increasing last year’s win total by one in the Alamo Bowl.
But this season was different for me. Rather than sitting in the stands like those students I watched on television, I sat in the press box as one of the football beat writers for The Daily Texan.
No journalism class could have taught me all that I learned during this semester. While my four previous semesters at the Texan were valuable and brought me to this point, the football beat gave me a much better understanding of what it takes to be a sports writer and a tremendous amount of respect for college athletes.
Sports writing is competitive and stressful, but being one of the football beat writers has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my college life. It has shown me the importance of having thick skin and standing by what you write. I’ve covered Texas volleyball, soccer, men’s swimming and diving and spring football. I’ve interviewed Olympians, professional athletes and heard some incredible stories. I am grateful to my editors and the Texan for giving me those opportunities.
However, my experience at the Texan has been much more than the football beat.
I took on the task of being a sports writer, general reporter and copy editor my first semester. I grew up so much during my first year at UT, mostly because of the Texan. My time with copy
and news helped me immensely as a writer and directed me where I know I am supposed to be: sports.
While I belonged in the sports department, I also belonged in the Texan. I’ve worked in that dirty basement my entire time at UT, and it has become a home for me and has given me some incredible friends along the way.
I want to thank my editors: Christian, Sameer, Trey, Will, Dan, Audrey and Lena. You have all shown me incredible support and understanding. My writing has improved drastically thanks to your guidance. Allie, Chris, Natasha, Nicole, Bobby and so many other great friends have made my experience at the Texan something I will remember forever.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for everyone who works at the Texan. No one in that basement has to be there and the work that goes into each paper astounds me. Each day when I pick up a Texan I am always impressed and proud.
There are so many things I will miss about the Texan — eating way too much Qdoba, Chris and Lauren’s press box observations, watching movies in the old sports office and I may even miss working desk until 2 a.m.
I came to Texas from out of state with no friends. But when I walked into the Texan basement and nervously picked up an application, I wasn’t just signing up for an experience. I was also entering a brotherhood with some truly amazing people. Though the Longhorns have been a disappointment during my two and a half years in Austin, my time at the Texan is something I will be forever thankful for.
And as for Texas football, maybe next year.
Lauren Giudice started at The Daily Texan in fall 2010 as a general reporter, sports writer and copy editor. She is now a senior sports writer.