Girl who makes words look pretty tries writing for first time

Rena Li

I’m here today because I couldn’t let go of my high school hero past. 

As the garter snake of McCombs, my freshman year was spent shamefully unsuccessfully schmoozing with … The Business Frats. So I decided to return to what felt familiar: the college version of high school yearbook.

The day I stumbled into The Daily Texan office, it felt like home. Thirty minutes into my design tryout, despite not knowing a soul, or uttering more than a few words that night, and not even being hired yet, I knew I somehow belonged among these very chatty basement-dwelling strangers with bad posture. 

Before I knew it, I was three years in and one of them.

Some may call it editors desperate to hire staffers to fill positions, but that initial push of encouragement is our collective origin story of how we all unwittingly stayed here for the entirety of our college careers. Thank you, Elizabeth and all former Texan staffers, for giving all of us that push.

It’s amazing what we’ve created in the past two years through the equal collaborative efforts of all departments. I feel lucky to have worked alongside the next generation of truly visionary journalists. During my time here, I have gotten some “really good”s, “awesome”s and “ visually arresting”s from a particularly critical Peter Chen — despite the occasional, unforgettable “jarring.”

It’s pretty representative of what it’s like to work at the Texan because at the end of the day, we’re just students, and this is the place to be to make mistakes. Ultimately, it’s the sum of the “jarring” moments — the collective anguish of untimely sports articles coming in, the occasional anime Bevo and Freshmangate — that shine alongside the “really good”s and the “awesome”s.

Ellie, I’m so glad we swindled each other into letting me be art director, and it’s been a pleasure joining you in the pastures of Texan retirement in the projects department.

Liza, you are impossibly hard-working, the most impressive of human beans and an even better plant mom. JT, you might not have a nurturing touch with plants, but you’ve done a heck of a job nursing formerly podcast into something really fantastic.

Sarah, you are such an exceptional leader and you don’t even know it. Our rapid codependency continues to blow my mind. Kirsten, you are the warmest and most caring and resilient person here.

Andrea, Mireya — I couldn’t have asked for better department heads to take care of our precious design pups. Sunnie and Mallika, y’all are my OGs. Michelle, I haven’t forgotten about being hip artistic ingénues together. 

Sports, you somehow had your moments and strangely taught me everything I know about sports.

And thank you, The Daily Texan, for giving me someone I loved. 

At the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of closing your tabs after a project, dropping your management major or shutting the iMac down after a long night of production. And with that…