I decided on Texas Tech on a whim.
That might sound silly, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why, of all the colleges I applied to, my heart and head decided on Tech. But as soon as I stepped foot on campus a few months before my high school graduation, I felt like I was home.
I still feel that way today. I’m a year into my master’s degree and when I walk through campus, there is just a magic in the air that’s hard to describe. And where I really feel like I’m home is behind the glass walls of the Student Media rotunda.
When I was first hired at The Daily Toreador, I was just excited to get started and continue my passion of journalism and media. In those first few weeks though, I contemplated quitting at least every other day. The daily deadlines were a struggle to keep up with — especially while adjusting to larger classes and life away from home — even for someone who is permanently attached to her planner.
Somehow, I survived and kept coming back for more.
For the next four years I worked my way through the department, meeting new people and learning new things along the way. Each position taught me something new about myself and gave me experiences I truly believe you can only get within a college newsroom.
I’ve covered presidential elections, bomb threats, a shooting, World Series runs, Board of Regents controversies and so much more with The DT, and in the process I met some of my best friends.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with the most talented people who constantly pushed me to be the best version of myself and taught me more than I think I was ever prepared for.
I could fill an entire issue thanking the people who have influenced me within the department, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. To Carson Turner, Davian Hopkins and Amy Cunningham – thank you for hiring me and giving me my first editor gigs with La Ventana and The DT. Y’all taught me how to handle the stress of the job and become a better leader.
Avery, you were the first person I hired (and the first person crazy enough to agree to working with me) and I thank the heavens for you constantly. How blessed am I that my managing editor was my voice of reason and, in working side-by-side, became my best friend?
Michael Cantu, Justin Rex, Austin Watts and every person who has worked on staff the last two years – y’all are what keeps this publication alive and thriving. I know it can be a thankless job sometimes, but I hope you know how much I appreciate the work each of you have put forward and how much I have loved working with you.
Andrea and Sheri, y’all truly have been my moms-away-from-mom these last five years. You are both extraordinary human beings who have taught newsroom after newsroom of college kids how to be better journalists and even better people.
You do your jobs with grace and dignity in a way that amazes me every day, because I know we don’t always make it easy on y’all. Thank you for taking me in as a sophomore and pushing me out my comfort zone. I know with 100 percent certainty I wouldn’t be where I am now without the two of y’all.
And to my better half, Tyler – you have been the backbone of this publication the last two years. You kept me sane in the hardest of times and allowed me to put work at the center of our relationship more than once. Without you there’s no way I, or most of us, would have made it.
These people are at the heart of my most prized memories. The Wednesday night jam sessions, the Friday afternoon laughs, the road trips and the hugs because we were always around when randomly getting the best news (like emails dinging with acceptance letters and seeing our publication listed as a Pacemaker finalist).
All of the moments that came between working on producing news for the Tech community and making sure nothing was on fire were the ones that I hold most dear.
Those moments helped me realize how special my job is. Because even when we were putting a paper together or covering breaking news, we were able to share laughs about the terrible puns we would come up with or the awful misspellings we were so thankful someone caught. I’m convinced there aren’t many work environments were the day-to-day is this enjoyable.
Don’t get me wrong, not everything was sunshine and rainbows all the time. We’ve had our fair share of storms that came with tears and heartbreak (like dealing with the aftermath of covering a shooting and losing a friend). But that’s the best thing about this place. It gives you people who will walk with you as long as you need, until the days don’t seem so dark.
My five years have been filled with long days, sleepless nights and stress that have taken more than a few years off my life I’m sure. And when people only see that part of the job — the hard parts that make you think you’re going insane — it’s easy for them to ask why I’ve stayed as long as I have.
But these people, these friends, this family, have always been worth it. They’re the reason I’ve stayed in this department for so long and they’re the reason leaving is so hard.
The DT granted me so much these last five years — experience unlike any other, countless memories to balance the sleepless nights, the stress beyond belief and friends I will carry with me forever. That’s what makes this job so special, and if you’re waiting for me and give you a reason to come work here, here it is:
Your time here will give you everything you want, everything you need and whatever may fall in-between. This place and these people will change you for the better if you let them. I’m eternally grateful I did.
So, with this I bid a final farewell to the place that’s been my everything for the duration of my college (and postgraduate) career. I just had to say thank you one more time.
Love y’all so dearly.