Putting it into words

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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.

For the last time, I have descended the steps to The Daily Texan office — comfortably situated in the mostly windowless basement of a nondescript building on the communication plaza.

After spending hours talking with sources, writing stories, waiting for edits and receiving the occasional love advice from a former news editor, I ascended the steps to total darkness, remembering the test I had the next morning. “Every night will not be like this,” I’d tell myself. But it usually was. And the next morning, I’d return to the basement for more, even after my second semester as a full-time reporter revealed why I could never be one.

Despite the fact that my job has entirely to do with words, even after nine semesters it is difficult to articulate what about the experience compelled me to descend those steps each day.

Maybe it’s the invaluable exposure to the University. After all, the Texan provided me with seemingly unique access to UT. It gave me an excuse to meet dedicated professors willing to share their passion, knowledge and vision with eager students and to talk with student leaders striving to improve the University community.

Or maybe it’s the people. At the Texan, I have met some of the most talented and dedicated people I know. From the reporters to the managing editors with whom I have had the fortunate opportunity to work, I have learned much of what I know from the people around me.

Shabab, there is no one else I’d rather philosophize with. Whether it is about ethical systems or girl crushes, you are always the perfect person to talk to — except, of course, when the buzzer is out.

Matt, waiting for decisions that in many ways determined my future would have been far more unbearable without you. Besides, your pictures provided the perfect canvas for my Photoshop adventures.

Susannah, you will make a fantastic editor next year. Just be sure to eat plenty of oatmeal and arugula, and never sell that trampoline.

Samantha, I am always honored to be called “Lil Sam.” Taboo, Apples to Apples and “30 Rock” will not be the same without you. When in doubt, shut it down.

Dave, thanks for saving me this summer — and on several other occasions.

Lauren, you taught me so much of what I know, and it is you who reassured me that I had the ability to pursue what I wanted at the Texan, whether it was to work as a senior reporter or as the editor. And who else would have shared my interests in Lojban or food with me?

I’ve also had the pleasure to work with Veronica, Lena and Audrey, who brought to the job different skill sets that all proved valuable, especially during unanticipated situations.

I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by an exceptionally smart and articulate group of people on whom I could always depend to ensure the page printed and from whom I learned something new each day.

Despite my many days in the opinion department, I will never forget being raised in the news department with some of the most talented reporters and editors this paper has seen.

And I always had the support of Doug. I will miss our heart-to-hearts, during which you provided me with advice regarding anything from the Texan to my future. Thanks for always supporting me (except that little blip when you found out I was leaving the news department to join the editorial board).

Clearly, the people enhanced my Daily Texan experience, but, in addition, pursuing stories daily instilled in me something fundamental: the belief that I would go further by endeavoring to understand the narratives of others instead of simply developing my own.

The Daily Texan has shaped my undergraduate experience, and for that I am truly grateful.

-30-

Aldous, a Plan II and philosophy senior, worked as a general news reporter, a senior reporter, an associate news editor, an associate editor and editor-in-chief.