I tried to hold off writing this column for as long as I could because I didn’t want to come to terms that my time at UConn was coming to an end. Leading up to this it still hadn’t hit me that I graduate in two days, and I knew that once I sat down to write, it would all hit me at once.
I’m not the easiest person to read, and I’ve become more aware of this over the last couple of months. It’s both a blessing and a curse that it’s more natural for me to hide what I’m feeling, than to express it.
As my days here are numbered, it only made sense to show my vulnerability through my final piece of writing for The Daily Campus.
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. From a very young age it was always my strongest ability. In high school when everyone complained about essays, I looked forward to it. When I was 16, my English teacher at the time, Mrs. Messenger, was a retired journalist. I knew then, after taking her class, I wanted to go into journalism.
My time at UConn didn’t start at Storrs, rather commuting to a regional campus in Waterbury to save money. After fulfilling as much of my degree as I could there, during the spring of my sophomore year I switched campuses.
I didn’t know much about Storrs other than how to get from my dorm in McMahon to my classes and vice versa. Of all the thousands of clubs and organizations on campus that I had never heard of or even knew existed, The Daily Campus was the one sure thing I was set on joining.
If you asked me then how to get to Laurel Hall, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. But if you asked me what the small building randomly located next to Buckley and behind Moe’s was, I could immediately tell you it’s the DC.
I remember awkwardly walking into my first Life meeting with everyone staring at me because I was the only person in the room no one knew. It was uncomfortable, and I didn’t take a story, but I stayed.
I was eager to learn more about the newspaper and get involved in more ways than just writing. Within a few months I started copyediting and shadowing page designers to learn how to use InDesign.
Coming in halfway through the year was an adjustment. Being the only person in the newsroom who didn’t know anyone and not having an established role made it difficult to find my niche.
I don’t think I really talked to anyone my first semester, and while most might have strayed, especially after experiencing the late nights of production, I stayed.
As junior year came along, my life steadily revolved around writing, copyediting and designing the Life pages. I spent almost every night working in our building, and all my time there introduced me to the faces of the names I was reading on a constant basis.
Some of my fondest and earliest memories at the paper involved working production Thursday nights with the now incoming sports editor Tyler Keating, and outgoing photo editor Jackson Haigis. We spent each night we worked together making the most ridiculous photoshops that we somehow got away with putting into the pages the next day (Thanks Matt!, Sorry Kayvon), overplaying the song “Work” by Rihanna and resurrecting the infamous online chat website, Chatroulette.
By the time senior year came around, I became Life Editor. Prior to the year even officially starting, there was an immense amount of pressure that I put on myself to make the section the best it’s ever been. After seeing it fall apart the year before due to the previous editors, I refused to let it continue to be the joke of the newsroom.
There were countless nights throughout the year where it felt like no one was taking us seriously, that everyone was against us trying new things and seeing what boundaries we could push.
I was constantly stressed out, anxious and sometimes full of doubt. I questioned if it was even worth putting so much of myself into a paper and sacrificing all of the things that I had because honestly, how many students on this campus are really picking up this paper?
But in the end, it was worth it.
Without the support and help of my associate editors Megan Krementowski and Francesca Colturi I don’t think I would have gotten through the year without losing my mind. While I wasn’t close to either of them before working together, they quickly became friends that I will always cherish.
Being as involved with The Daily Campus as I have been the past two and a half years, I came to terms rather quickly that I wasn’t going to have much of a social life. Weekdays were spent in the newsroom until early hours of the morning, and weekends were spent catching up on sleep and all of the class assignments I kept pushing back.
All my best memories at UConn can be easily traced back to The Daily Campus. From the people that I’ve met, to the stories I got to tell and every experience in between I cannot put into words how utterly grateful I am.
Thank you Megan and Francesca for getting me through all of the sleepless nights, all the trips to the bar and for constantly reminding me how great life is (both the section and reality). Thank you Bailey for being an exceptional Managing Editor. Tuesday night production crew (you know who you all are), thank you for all the laughs and always asking me if I’ll come get Slurpee’s with you from 7 Eleven even though I said they were gross every time. To all the copy editors, online producers and photographers: thank you for always adding the finishing touches to every article I’ve ever written.
To the new Life Editor and Associate Life Editor, Schae Beaudoin and Julia Mancini, I could not be prouder of the growth the two of have gone through this year. It isn’t easy letting go of the section, but I trust you both that it will be in safe hands and I cannot wait to see what you guys do with it.
And to each and every one of you that wrote for the Life section this year, whether it was for one time or you predominately write for a different section or you’re still writing regularly, thank you. We wouldn’t have been able to win Best Section this year without you.