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.
Sweaty palms, heart racing and praying to God I wouldn’t fall down the stairs to my death was the way I first entered the Texan.
There I was looking around, trying to figure out if I had time to back out when a guy with ginger hair and glasses turned around, smiled and asked me if I was there for news. I was. As I would soon find out he would be my editor, Bobby.
For whatever reason, Bobby took a chance on me, and I still don’t think I can thank him enough. I spent the summer writing various stories about libraries and students being relocated while studying abroad in Egypt.
Summer ended, but I knew my time at the Texan wasn’t over. I stuck with it and continued to write whatever came my way for many more semesters. I took breaks for internships, but I always came back.
That’s the thing about the Texan — it always draws you back because your work is never really done. There’s always another story to chase down, another portrait to take, an endless supply of sports games to cover and the never-ending process of cutting inches and making sure it’s the University, not the university.
And at the end of the night we trudge up the stairs, go home and finally start our homework long after midnight, knowing fully well we’ll be back tomorrow to do it all again.
But we come back because we know the stories we tell are important and make a difference. The stories aren’t always happy, and this semester we’ve had to tell some tragic ones, but we do it without question in the hopes that people will take something from them — be it comfort, motivation to take action or even just a better understanding of the world around them.
In between the press conferences, the edits, the budget meetings, the interviews and writing, you realize the basement is a haven, and the people who come and go are your family.
As it turns out my family is pretty great.
Bobby let me in, Jordan pushed me to be better, Sam and Josh were my support system and Amy let me come home – again.
Coming back from Paris was different though. I didn’t recognize a single name on the list of people I was supposed to “lead.” But they quickly became part of my family, and I know they’ll continue to make news a home for the sassy and sarcastic. I love you all.
As I get ready to leave the basement, my palms are sweaty, my heart is racing and I’m still praying I don’t fall, but I know my Texan family will always catch me if I do.