Photographer finds unexpected home in The Daily Texan

Jenna VonHofe

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.

The first time I wandered into the basement of The Daily Texan, someone asked me, “Can I help you find something?” and I stood there for a short moment and replied, “Well, maybe.” The Daily Texan was not part of the plan. Yet here I was, wide-eyed and hopeful that it might just be exactly what I needed. I grabbed an application and quickly ambled up the stairs, tripping on my way out. 

The better part of my final college year was spent within this basement, and I soon found a part of myself I hadn’t known was missing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and true to form, I leave here with more than 10,000 photos and very few words — 400 to be exact — to sum up my experience.

Life in the basement is in a constant state of relentless progression. Down here I learned the truths of unforgiving deadlines, the reality of sleepless nights and the deep appreciation for black coffee. The Texan gave me a home away from home, and in this place I’ve acquired more knowledge than I could have ever hoped to gain in a classroom. I am thankful for the many laughs — and a few tears — that we have shared in this dimly lit workspace. 

To my editors, Charlie, Pu, Chelsea, and Sam: I cannot thank you enough for the inspiration, the support and the friendships you all have shared with me. I would not be the photographer I am today if it had not been for your patient guidance and unwavering dedication. 

To the photo staff: I met most of you as an extremely awkward taco on Halloween, and since then I have been fortunate enough to see eye to eye with you all, and look up to you at the same time. I am beyond humbled to have been alongside you in photo pits, job interviews and basement musings. Thank you for the privilege to consider myself a part of this unlikely family. 

I appreciate how far we’ve all come, and I look forward to the future. I am unbelievably lucky to have found something that makes saying goodbye so hard. But I suppose you never truly say goodbye to something you can’t leave behind, and leaving the Texan is more of a farewell that doesn’t require too many words. 

Not everything went as planned, and that’s OK.