30: Senior Life&Arts reporter departs with gratitude in her heart

Lisette Oler

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staff to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in the The Daily Texan. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (-30-) to denote the end of a line.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do — not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased.”

I put this in my Facebook quotes section long before I ever got to the basement of the Daily Texan, but as my time at the Texan comes to an end, I find it rings truer than ever before.

When I applied to be a permanent staff member for the fall 2016 semester, I had recently returned from Russia and had no idea what ‘p-staff’ entailed, but I applied for News, Life&Arts and Sports anyway.

Elizabeth, then-editor of the Life&Arts section, interviewed me via FaceTime. I knew as soon as I realized we were both doing this interview in the back of our respective cars that this was the section that I wanted to be a part of. 

She took a chance on me that no other editor that semester did. She never gave up on me, even when I got very flustered at having to repitch week after week. Plus, she fully supported me in trying to find an urban forager, which finally paid off with the only ‘good’ Peter has ever given me. Thank you, Elizabeth.

I didn’t think by the end of that semester the journalist’s life was for me, so I didn’t return. I took time to get some perspective. When I was finally ready to return in summer 2017, Mae welcomed me as if I’d never left. Thank you, Mae.

Working with Morgan and Justin this summer was a little weird at the beginning because they were brand new issue writers when I first joined the staff in the fall. Both younger than I was and both editors now, it was truly humbling to see how they had progressed and how they could help me improve in every aspect of my process. Thank you, Morgan and Justin.

Eva was a ray of sunshine in that drab basement. The minute I met her I was grateful I said yes to writing that last minute LGBT Flag listicle. She always had a smile on her face and a positive attitude that was infectious. Thank you, Eva.

Finally, I can’t think about the Daily Texan without thinking about my sister, Vanessa. She was there to read every story, even the crappy ones. She was there when deadlines stressed me out and I needed story ideas. She was there to remind me that working at the campus paper was actually a viable option all along. For that, I am the most grateful. Thank you, Vanessa.

I’ve learned how to write faster, pitch better and see broader. My power to take on the whole “Daily Texan” thing became stronger with every published story. I know I can persist no matter my final career path and with that I bid the paper adieu. Thank you, The Daily Texan.