Copy editor reflects on time at the Texan

Sarah Lanford

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’ve been watching “The Office” on a loop for a couple years now. It’s arguably my favorite television show, but I never knew why I liked it so much until my most recent run-through. In the series finale, Erin says, “How did you capture how we felt and how we made each other laugh and how we got through the day?” The perennially-happy receptionist describes the Dunder Mifflin team as a family — one that works together, but also as one that laughs, cries and grows together. And then it hit me: She’s basically describing The Daily Texan.

Looking back on tryouts, I can’t help but laugh. On my very first night in the Texan, the copy desk chief brusquely introduced himself and then proceeded to speak only in Russian. That guy turned out to be one of the smartest and best people I’ve ever met. He sat me down at a computer next to another tryout, and I didn’t say a word to her. Now we’re roommates and best friends. But on that night, I didn’t know that the people I met at the Texan would become my family. All I knew was that I was scared.   

Since then, I’ve found in The Daily Texan a group of people who inspire me. They are kind, passionate and hardworking. They are the kind of people who go to school all day and then eagerly sit in a dark basement until the wee hours of the night because they care about what they’re doing. Whether it’s meticulously editing for comma errors, calculating sports statistics, interviewing an administrator or creating a comic, these 20-something students are there making a paper.

I won’t remember a lot of what happened at the Texan during my two years there, but there are some things I’ll never forget: Staff Olympics, Aaron’s obsession with catching the rat, watching Gilmore Girls with Nicole, every time Ben played with my hair, singing with Kelly and Iliana and the Great Server Crash of 2015. 

Walker: Can’t wait for you to be ambassador to the U.N. one day.

Brett: Thanks for hiring me and giving me the best group of friends I’ve ever had (yourself included).

Kailey: Thanks for being the best friend I’ve ever had. I’ve never been at the Texan without you, and I wouldn’t want to be.

Claire: You’re a role model of remaining strong in the face of challenge. I love you, and I cherish you (for real). 

So yep, we’re a family. Sure, we make one of the best college newspapers in the country every night. But to me, it’s about much more than that. It’s about finding a family in an unlikely place — a family that laughs, cries and grows together.