News editor reminisces on long nights in the basement

Sarah White

It’s a weird thing that goes on in this basement. Five nights a week. Under harsh florescent lighting. With a vocabulary of words like “pagint,” “RIM” and “maestro”. Each semester, a hundred and fifty sleep-deprived 20-year-olds become this item — a thing that the rest of the campus will know as The Daily Texan. I’ve spent every semester of my college career as a part of this organism, and the hardest part of leaving is knowing that I’ll be walking past those boxes for another two years. I’ll see the headlines, the bylines and four semesters worth of staff-boxes. 

Even though I’ve got over two years of memories and friendships to take with me, leaving behind the basement is hard. It’s hard because of the little pieces that can’t be explained so much as they have to be described. 

It’s hard to think that I won’t turn on the office Mac after Jordan has “tab-bombed” it and stumble upon 12 open articles too interesting to close out of immediately. 

I’ve learned to gage Christine’s current stress level by counting how many non-verbal sounds she makes over a two minute conversation. It’s hard to think that my ability to translate “Mmeeeggguurr?” won’t have a daily use anymore.

It used to stress Sam out when the Google doc wasn’t properly color-coordinated, and it’s hard to think that I won’t be there to help her fix it.

It’s hard to think that I won’t see Jay, floating around from desk to desk at night – working his PR magic with the other departments.

I’ll miss my SRs, how hard they work and how hard they make me laugh.

It’s hard to think that I won’t add any more gems to our quote board, or create a new folder for firsts, or walk into the basement in the daylight, only to leave well after dark. It’s hard to think that I won’t have a reason to expect a call from an unknown number at any time of day, and that I’ll miss the strong skepticism of the copy desk. 

It’ll be hard to miss Chelsea, Pu and Elisabeth snickering at me when I called a “portrait” a “profile” for the 10,000th time or request “bike art” as if that could possibly be a good idea. 

I’ll miss Shabab’s “homeschooled” jokes, and him making fun of me because I make up names for people when I can’t remember who they are, or telling me he’s proud when I make Board-of-Regents references. I’ll miss pretending to argue over whether one beat is inherently better than the rest. I’ll miss pretending to argue with Shabab about a lot of things. That part’s going to be really hard. 

There are a lot of little pieces and memories that tie me to the Texan and hold me here, a place where having slept on that grubby couch is a badge of pride. It’s a place where I won the “Miranda Hobbes Award” and where Jill let 17-year-old me hang out in the news office — because I was finally P-Staff. It’s a place where Wednesday-night edits were special. It’s a place I evacuated one night off of a faulty tip from a police officer and a place where I’ve told that story too many times to count.

Today, I feel too wrapped up in the Texan to write something like this; I’m sure, in 20 years, I’ll have a different highlight reel. I’ll leave the synthesizing — the processing — for then, when I have more perspective. Today, I just want to document the emotions and have a chance to say, “I love you,” to the place that has been a home for me.

– 30 –