Long time opinion editor draws ire one last time

Julia Zaksek, Opinion Editor

I’ve worked in The Daily Texan’s opinion department every semester since I was a freshman. I knew I wanted to join since before I first came to campus. My high school newspaper was where I made my closest friends. It was where I learned how much I love opinion writing and how important advocacy is to me. I wasn’t a journalism major, but I found my way to the Texan immediately.

I was a columnist, then I was the forum editor, and for the past two years, I’ve been an associate editor. I’ve never known a semester without the Texan. The basement has been a key part of my experience at UT, and I can’t believe it’s coming to an end.

Everyone says it, but there really is something special about the Texan and the basement. Everyone is so passionate about their work, and the editors I’ve worked with over the years are some of the best, kindest and most talented people I’ve ever met.

The opinion department helped me learn how to argue and how to advocate for students and faculty on campus. I’ve written about menstrual product access, graduate student wages, COVID-19 accommodations and sexual misconduct. I’ve interviewed dozens of students, professors and community organizers. I’ve written, co-written and edited dozens of pieces. And I’ve done it all surrounded by people just as committed to change and community as me.

Sanika — I’m so glad we went on this journey through the Texan and opinion together. From being in the same pitch group as freshmen to being co-editors to working with you as my EIC, it’s been one hell of a ride. You are so talented and passionate, and I know you’re going to be amazing in whatever you do.

Mia — I knew there was a reason you were my favorite columnist. Your pieces are always so hard hitting, impactful and just well written. I hope you stay with the department and continue advocating for students.

Faith — it’s been so fun to get to know you and work with you this semester. You never fail to make us laugh, and I hope you stay with the department.

Sruti — you’re such a talented editor and writer. You do so much so well, and I hope next year you can give yourself some grace! You don’t have to do everything even when everything you do turns out so well.

Working at the Texan has also taught me how to take criticism — both from Peter and his many “adequates” — and my crowd of critics that commented on each and everyone of my columns before comments were (thankfully) turned off on the Texan website. Comments about the pointlessness of my major, my lack of understanding about a variety of topics — including the Constitution, of all things — only spurred me on and encouraged me to continue my advocacy.

So, if you’re out there Austin-ex, my most frequent and committed critic, I at long last have a reply to your question, “What on Earth can you do with a women’s and gender studies major?” In the fall, I will be attending the University of Iowa School of Law on a full three-year merit scholarship with the ultimate goal of working in public interest law. And I couldn’t have done it without the Texan.