Connor Downs/The Daily Texan
After following the very confusing directions to the basement for my copy tryout, I found myself looking down the scariest staircase I’d ever seen. At that moment, I was sure I had done something wrong and was not where I was supposed to be. I would shortly discover, however, that I was in the exact right place — in a literal sense but also in a cheesy, bigger-picture-life-trajectory way.
So, despite my initial shock — and still not entirely positive I was in the right place — I descended the steps and opened the door to the newsroom for the first time.
I’d discover that what actually makes the Texan so special isn’t the fact that it’s a literal hole in the ground, or the creepy staircase you have to take to get into the hole, but the people who make their way down here, week after week. Those people, who make the basement a warm and bright place, despite the too-bright fluorescent lights and chilly tile, are the heart of this newspaper and the heart of my time here.
My sweet copy cat elders, I think about you guys every day.
Jason, I remember my first semester’s hectic Thursday nights and the pre-pandemic copy department regularly. Your leadership has been some of the most impactful in my time at UT, and I thought about your feedback emails every time I wrote one of my own.
Irissa, we worked together very few nights, but your warmth was the first thing that made me feel at home at the Texan. Your impact is greater than you know.
Lawson, you were the first person I met at the Texan; the first thing that solidified my desire to work here. Thank you for never failing to be kind and patient with me, up to the point of leading me through co-chiefdom.
Jimena, Kirsten, Megan and Brittany, watching you all taught me so much. Thank you for including me in every aspect, and continuing to support me far beyond your time at the Texan.
My other friends at the Texan, you have impacted me in ways I can’t begin to explain.
Myah, Nathan, Jack, Matthew and Jenny, those pingpong-filled nights that frequently morphed into early mornings were a highlight of my time here. The conversations will always live in a special place in my heart.
Nathan, you (are not the worst AME of all time) light up those around you in a way that not many people are able to, and I am so thankful to have gotten to work with you these last few semesters. Thank you for editing nearly every weekend story this semester, and for always putting something good on aux.
Jenny, we must have known each other in another lifetime, and I am so thankful to the Texan for uniting us in this one. Our borderline-dangerous Dunkin’ runs that made us perpetually late to budget were such a bright spot, and we’re probably forgiven, since we showed up with donuts, right?
Addie. I can’t do this justice in a paragraph in a 30 column, but you are the most dedicated, hard working, inspiring and funny person I know. I can’t imagine college without you, or what I’ll do when I can’t see you every day. You inspire me to be more kind, to work for what I want to achieve, to just be a better person. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend, and I’ll never be able to tell you how thankful I am for you.
Peter, Myah, Sanika, Kirsten and Megan Menchaca, the guidance and support you have offered this semester has been life saving. Knowing that y’all were in my corner has been the biggest comfort. When I thought things were too hard or that I couldn’t handle what was going on, you chimed in with wise words I didn’t know I needed, but desperately did.
Anna and Fiza, you’re both so dedicated and are going to be amazing as ME’s. It’s an honor to pass the torch along to you guys.
For a while, I think I’ve been scared that when I leave the Texan I’ll leave the person I have become while working here behind as well. That version of myself, who has parts of Addie’s dedication, Myah’s selflessness, Jason’s humor, Irissa’s kindness, Jenny’s compassion (this list is endless), is a version that I have really come to love, and the thought of leaving that behind along with the basement was terrifying.
I’ve come to realize, though, that version of myself is what the Texan has given me.
It has felt at many moments that being part of this newsroom is a one sided job. I often felt that despite pouring everything I have into this paper, I came away with little to show for it. But reflecting on who I was walking down those steps for the first time and who I’m going to be as I walk up them the last time — that is what the Texan has given me. I am so grateful for who the Texan has allowed me to become.
Thank you all so much for being a part of that.