Projects editor’s love-hate relationship with student paper ends in pathetic fizzle

Neelam Bohra

There is an ugly dry-erase board sitting in my apartment. Peeling blue duct tape segments it into sections, where the names of reporters, their stories and editors’ initials are written in marker.

When I walked into the upscale pothole we call a basement for the first time since the pandemic shutdown, the board felt like an ancient relic I needed to possess. Those were my initials on it. Those were my former co-editor, current roommate and future maid of honor’s initials on it.

They should’ve been erased after spring break of 2020. Instead, they froze in time, unseen for months until the words permanently melted onto the board. The news department replaced it with a newer, shinier board. So now, it’s just sitting in my apartment.

I guess I have some things in common with this dry-erase board.

It took years off my life to report, push for diversity and inclusion, and gaslight (edit) at this paper. It provided a stepping stone for me to go into professional reporting while also infuriating me in keeping problematic structures in place.

My first news editor came to my house with a basket of presents when my kidneys failed. A year later, I got to write a column about kidney failure. Another year later, I wrote a song for the fall 2020 news department and Zoomed into our last pitch meeting from the hospital.

I kind of got a family out of this dingy, terrifying place.

Nicole, thank you for guiding me through all these years with your funny stories and willingness to listen to my anxiety rants.

Anna, we’ve gotten to grow so much together as coworkers! I miss you and Draco Malfoy the cat.

Brooke, I love you and your Kim Possible pants and your willingness to hear all of my stories.

Hannah, you are one of my favorite reporters I got to work with. I think we learn a little bit from each other every day.

Areeba. My dance partner for “Ghungroo.” My chronic illness bestie. We’ve changed a lot since Dahlby’s class, and I love who we’ve become.

Megan. You took a chance on me. You answered my many 2 a.m. texts and have been a constant pillar of support these two years. I love you. I will be sending late texts decades from now.

Skye, thanks for never reporting me to our nonexistent HR department when you were a GR. And look at us now! Who would’ve thought?

Lauren and Emily. My platonic soulmates. I borrowed our single brain cell to write this. You’re both laughing on the couch right now as you tear apart the chocolate advent calendar from Trader Joe’s. I never would have predicted such beautiful and talented people would have come into my life, much less because of The Daily Texan.

I wish I could freeze this moment on a dry-erase board, too.