30: Associate editor finds platform to contribute voice

Khadija Saifullah

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.

It only took me a semester to find my way into the Daily Texan basement. When I did, it seemed like the beginning of something momentous — and it was. 

I was first drawn to the basement because I felt the need to represent as a minority and bring light to the inherent discrimination that marginalized students face. Minority students on campus such as myself carry our political opinions with us as baggage everywhere we go. I don’t think it’s enough to be visible anymore — we have to be vocal about what we believe in.

Being a part of The Daily Texan has been an honor. It has been an adventure, and it has been the most rewarding experience of my undergraduate career.

The Texan gave me a platform to contribute my voice as many events unfolded over the past three years. I editorialized on campus tragedies, racism and xenophobia, Muslim bans, and the tuition increase. The Texan made me feel like I was a part of a larger, pivotal community on campus — and as a small voice among tens of thousands of students, I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to project my voice in my work again during some of the most important moments. 

What makes the Texan different from any other student publication is how dedicated it is to serving the student body — through the good and bad times. Every day, staffers work to make deadline and print out a new paper for the next day. In moments of shock, tragedy and fear, the Texan continued to provide news for its students. Regardless of what campus faced the day before, the next morning the Texan was always there in the form of a fresh paper, signifying the beginning of a new day and a fresh start. When students have not received enough information from either administration or from mainstream media, it has been the student newspaper that has always been on top of the story.

It’s safe to say that my time at the Texan has taught me a lot. I’ve learned that life is very fragile, and that time passes faster than we would have imagined — so it’s better to be appreciative right now. Thank the people who have invested in you. Thank the people who were kind to you when they had no obligation to be. When I reflect, the most profound lesson I’ve learned here boils down to three simple words: Treat everyone right. It’s so simple and obvious but sometimes as college graduates we become so obsessed with our careers, our diplomas, our goals, and our life plans, that we forget how incredibly lucky we are to be here. 

Five semesters, 44 columns, 12 opinion page designs, and two Liz Carpenter awards later, I can’t believe my time at the Texan has ended. I look forward to watching from a distance as the Texan redefines itself and continues to provide content for our students in the future. 

Saifullah is a neuroscience senior from Richardson.