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.
I first tried out for the Daily Texan Photo department in 2008. The first day of tryouts ended with me crying in the middle of campus on the phone with my mom. “Only one frame developed!” I bawled over the phone behind the FAC while upperclassmen walked by, most likely knowing instantly that I was a freshman. So, I didn’t get hired (obviously), probably because I was shooting film, and couldn’t even load it in a camera properly, but I didn’t give up the thought that I one day would try out again. January 2010, I did try out again (and got hired!). I hated the job for the first two months. I dreaded Tuesdays, waking up, getting an assignment, fumbling through campus and Austin trying to figure what “Wild” was or where this building was or worrying if my settings were right or about getting people’s names ... it was, I’ll admit, not fun at first. But the longer I stuck with it, the more I realized that the Daily Texan photo department was the supportive group of people I had been looking for in college — the ones who will support me when I do well, won’t hold back critique when I seriously screw up (and need to learn from it), or be there if I need someone to lean on. Five semesters later, I would not have traded any of that for anything. I can’t count on two hands the number of times I shuffled into the photo office, exhausted from school, work, assignments, knowing there would be someone there I could talk to and sit with (or steal food from). I’ll never forget the advice some of my editors through the years gave me to help me grow as a photojournalist. As I move on, I’ll cherish the memories of dancing in the office, creeping out/annoying the other departments (sorry, y’all), crying from too much laughter, spending hours and hours into the night editing slideshows, photo pages, soundslides; I’ll always remember the friends (or, let’s be real, family) who helped me through tough times, gave me advice as I advanced my “eye,” woke me up when I slept on the photo office couch overnight... I could go on. It’s bittersweet to leave this office, with the photo corkboard (do we still update that?), that green couch (how long has that been here?), that casino chip (Ryan), the constant mess (who’s going to clean it now, y’all?!), but I know I’m not leaving the people. It’s been real DT staff. I’ll see you soon.