To the fall 2019 freshman tryout,
I remember how intimidating trying out for The Daily Texan can be. So here are some Texan tips and my best guess for how it all might go:
First, just make it down the stairs and wipe the sweat from your palms. Then, look for the cramped department with multicolor streamers, dark green couches and people yelling. That’s news. That’s your new home.
After a minute or two of awkwardly staring, an editor will notice you, smile and wave you over. You’re in. (Thanks, Sam.) Your next two editors might not smile as much and will scare you with their sarcasm. Listen to them, though. They’ll make you a confident editor. (Thanks Estefania and Wynne.)
Over the next six semesters, the news department will become your family. Taos Cooperative, Margs with Paul™, The Jibs and ugly selfies may play a role.
Once you get comfortable in news, you might befriend some people from sports. Smart idea. One will make fun of you a lot, but he’ll make you a little cooler. The second will sacrifice his house for keggers and help you manage one day. The third will show you what it means to be a charismatic leader, a good ME and an even better friend. (Thanks, Alex, Ty and Akshay.)
Somewhere along the way, a small person with a penchant for graphic design might try to create a position for herself. Just go with it. She’s great, and you’ll need her desperately. (Thanks, Rena.)
You might also come to appreciate a copy editor. While she may struggle with basics like freshman vs. freshmen, she’ll turn out to be one of your most loyal friends. (Thanks, Kirsten.)
Also, poking fun at opinion is always a good time, but keep an open mind. An EIC could turn out to be an insightful collaborator and an unexpected friend. (Thanks, Liza.)
The Texan also has a way of bringing existing friends even closer. Embrace that. Two reporters will inspire you with their tenacity and become your favorite parts of college. (Thanks Morgan and Kayla.)
Then there’s Peter. He’ll teach you how to accept criticism and stay calm under pressure (in both ping-pong and work). Most importantly, he’ll teach you to be confident in your decisions and in yourself. You will never beat him at ping-pong.
On your very first day you might meet a staffer who talks a lot about Longhorn band and has an inexplicable bird obsession. Do your best to look past this. Turns out you think very similarly, and she’ll end up being a lifelong friend. Oh, and stay on her good side. She might run the whole place one day. (Thanks, Catherine.)
The best person you’ll meet in the basement might come as a surprise. You’ll be unsure about him at first. But, in four years that’ll feel like four minutes, he’ll become one of your best friends. He’ll show you what it means to be unapologetic, passionate, driven. He’ll challenge every view you hold, and the two of you will grow immeasurably thanks to each other’s influence. On your last, last night of print, you’ll hope he realizes the incredible impact he’s had on this paper and on you. (Thank you, Forrest.)
Here are some final tips: Establish which ping-pong paddle is yours early on. Over budget inch count for all of Maria and Chase’s stories. Never ask Peter “What’s up?” Join the IM team. Go to every party. Be grateful. Appreciate every friend and cherish every minute.
A former ME who wishes she could turn back the clock