The first time I set foot in The Daily Texan basement, I was afraid. It’s only fitting that I will leave it feeling the same way.
It was Aleks’ and Katie’s effortless superiority — as they sat at their throne made of office chairs and obscure pop culture references — that intimidated me in the beginning. Now, of course, I know those chairs have mysterious, permanent stains, and I realize that being in the know is a product of ignoring all your homework.
I am afraid to leave this place now, because what will I do without it? Without these people?
At the Texan, I learned to skirt the line between reporting and harassing. I learned that sometimes my best work comes pouring out of me in those hazy hours when the rest of the world sleeps. I learned how to float in and out of someone else’s life, asking difficult questions and forming the deepest possible connection on a deadline.
There is no place that has caused me more heartache or more happiness than the Texan. I’ve cried a generous amount of tears in that bathroom, while Kelsey held my hand on the handicap stall floor.
The basement has seen Hannah and me in hysterical fits of giggles. It was where I sought words of wisdom from Audrey and Aleks on a hard gray couch. I flitted around the office, making fun of Zach, but then Andrew made fun of me.
I already had to miss Trey’s sweetness, Doug’s easy way of knowing and Susannah’s unexplainable quirks. I’m not ready to miss Shabab’s jerseys, Elisabeth’s awkward jokes or Mike’s ability to see through the bullshit.
I’ve loved sitting across from Jack, hearing his dad-jokes. Laura and Pu unknowingly inspire me with their style and attitude. I hope Pete still tells me about the new band he’s listening to, or that I can still find Alec napping in what looks like a yoga pose on the multimedia couch.
The Texan has opened me up in a way no other experience could. When I walk across the stage this Saturday, it will be memories from the basement that fill my head and warm my heart.
It is not that I think all of these relationships will come to an end. Some of these friendships I hope to have for a lifetime. But memories fade. They’ve already started to, and writing a few words is just my attempt to hold onto them a little bit longer.
I’m proud to have mistakenly called The Daily Texan home on more than one occasion, because that’s what you’ve all been to me for the past two and a half years: A home where I feel welcomed, challenged and loved, no matter what.