Editor-in-chief can’t stop crying

Sanika Nayak, Editor-in-Chief

I’ve never known a semester of college without the Texan. Literally. I’ve been here since the very first semester of my freshman year as a columnist, stayed two more years as an associate editor, spent time as a D&I director, and finally ended up here, as editor-in-chief. And I’ve loved every minute of it.

After all this time, what is there to say? Well, a whole lot. Let’s get started:

First, to Liza: thank you for seeing something in me and hiring me as a columnist way back when. I was in awe of you the moment I stepped into that basement, and I’ll never stop looking up to your leadership. Fran, thank you for believing in me and choosing me as an associate. From you, I learned so much about creating relationships and using the paper to support student voices. I’ll always remember our ed board hang outs (hopefully another coming soon). Lastly, to Emily: thank you for your undying encouragement and support. You were always a text or call away, and I don’t think I can fully express my appreciation for that.

Next, to my lovely, wonderful ed boards: every one of you has made the opinion department a better place. Your work, humor, and diligence energized me throughout the year. Maria, I’m so glad we got to work together over the summer. I know you have a bright future ahead. Izzy, I still miss you dearly. You are a force to be reckoned with and you’ll excel at whatever you undertake. Sruti, thank you for coming to work for me both on the D&I board and as an associate. You are incredibly dedicated, meticulous, and driven. Faith, you are such a hard worker and such an attentive and enthusiastic person. Your fun spirit as a columnist shines through even now. Mia, aside from being dangerously funny, you are someone who cares about the community and is unafraid to say what needs to be said. Always hold onto that. Julia— from pitch group to ed board, we have been through it all together. I’m so excited for everything you have coming up, and I’ll really miss being in the basement with you. And of course, to Megan: it’s been such a joy to know you as an associate editor and friend. You are so passionate and dedicated, and I’m so happy to hand you the reins next year. You’re going to kill it, and I’m always here for you.

To my forum editors, Safa and Hairuo, your passion for uplifting the community is inspiring. I’m proud of what we did this year, even though it was hard. Thank you both for always encouraging me to take care of myself.

Onto some of my other wonderful colleagues turned “adequate” friends. Hannah – I so wish you were here this semester. Working with you was one of my highlights at the Texan, and I’m glad we’ve become such close friends. Reeserton forever. Abhirupa, your commitment to inclusion is exactly what the Texan needed. Thank you for always being such an understanding, kind, smart person, leader, and friend. Carolynn, I’ll never forgive you for leaving because I miss you, but I’m so glad I hired you as my contributor. Jenny, you are so sweet and fun to be around, and the basement misses you. Lastly, to Rachael: I’m not quite sure what to say here, because what can you say to a best friend? Thank you for the talks, the laughs, the support, everything. You are so special to me, and so special to this paper.

This year, I’ve had the privilege of working with the best managing editors. Phoebe — I love your honesty, your understanding, and your willingness to work hard. Thanks for helping make my last semester here so smooth. And to the wonderful Myah Taylor: if there is one thing I know, it’s that I hope we get the chance to work side by side again. Our partnership extended beyond the Texan, and you have become a close friend and confidante.

And now, to the people behind the scenes. TSM and Gerald, thank you for your continual support. And to Peter: you’re yet another person that there’s not enough room here to thank fully. Your guidance this past year has meant more to me than you will ever know. You are an integral part of our newsroom, and your advice has been invaluable in my time as editor-in-chief.

I would be amiss if I didn’t express my immense gratitude to our entire staff: my columnists, the reporters, photographers, illustrators, department heads and so much more. It’s not easy to work at the Texan— trust me, I know. To say that you all inspire me is an understatement. I’ll carry the energy I felt in the basement for the rest of my life.

To those outside of the Texan who mean the world to me: Kav, Ank, Niti, Dev, Hamsi, Sunny, BM— thank you for giving me a reason not to constantly think about this paper, and to actually destress, all while being in my corner. Most importantly, thank you to my parents, grandparents, and my sister Anavi for being proud of me, and encouraging me to be proud of myself.

Finally, thank you to the UT community for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to the organizers and activists who spoke to me for our editorials; I hope I was able to use this platform well. Thank you to everyone who picked up a paper, followed us online, and consumed our content. We do it all for you.

This week, I’ve embarrassingly cried multiple times alone in the office and in my bedroom. I gave my all to the basement, and did my best to lead and learn. I wasn’t perfect, and there are things I wish I’d done better, but at the same time, there’s a hell of a lot I’m proud of. I’ve learned to take risks, be unafraid, and trust myself more than ever before.

I’ve been facing what feels like an existential crisis about moving forward from this job. This paper has been a part of my identity for the last four years, and leading it has been the uncontested highlight of my college career. I’ve been plagued with worry wondering how I’ll keep myself busy, or whether I’ll have anything that mimics this again in the future.

The truth is, I don’t know the answers to these fears, or really how to move on just yet. What I do know, however, is that this has been an experience that has allowed me to grow more than I’d ever imagined. For that, I’ll always be endlessly grateful.

Nayak is a speech, language, and hearing sciences senior from Austin, Texas. She was the editor-in-chief.