Senior Column: The greatest gift I never asked for

(File photo/The Daily Campus)

(File photo/The Daily Campus)

Pretty much anyone who knows me at the Daily Campus knows that I didn’t originally want my position. In fact, I never wanted to write for the Opinion section at all, let alone be one of the editors. For anyone who hasn’t heard the story, here it goes: I was essentially blackmailed into joining the newspaper at the end of my freshman year by my former roommate and one of my best friends. At the end of my sophomore year, I was essentially forced to apply to be a section editor, fully knowing that I would get one of the two positions as only one other person applied. At first, I was miserable. Now, looking back on my (slightly more than) three years at the Daily Campus, I am incredibly grateful for the coercion.

I never used to be the kind of person who liked to share my opinions. I was known as “the quiet one” in my family, always letting other people talk over me because I was too afraid to share my point of view on certain topics. My family has always been extremely political and vocal about their opinions, and I felt like my own voice would just get washed away. Now, around 100 opinion columns later, I think it’s safe to say I no longer worry about putting myself out there and letting my thoughts be heard. Through writing I quickly learned that some people will love what you have to say and some people will hate it. Some people will leave you hateful emails, while others leave remarks of gratitude for addressing an important topic. And honestly, the majority of people won’t read what I have to say at all - but that doesn’t mean my opinion doesn’t matter.

While my time at the Daily Campus has taught me a lot and allowed me to grow in ways I never expected to during my time as an undergrad, it has given me something more important: Friendships and memories. The people that I have worked alongside for the past three-ish years have been some of the greatest that I have ever met, and while I am sad to be leaving them, I am comforted by knowing that this institution that ties us all together will remain steady. To the past executives that have made this newspaper run so smoothly, thank you.

I have had the pleasure of working under two former Editors-in-Chief (Molly Stadnicki and Chris Hanna) who both worked insanely hard to keep everything in order. Thank you both for everything I know you did and appreciated you for, and for all of the behind-the-scenes work that none of us are aware of. Thank you to our Digital Editor, Connor, for editing our podcasts and fixing writers’ names and pronouns at all hours of the night. Thank you to Steph Sheehan, our incredibly talented Managing Editor for the past two years who I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Thank you for always encouraging me to be creative, supporting my addiction to pita chips and hummus, and becoming one of my best friends over the past few years.

I also owe a huge amount of gratitude to my section. Thank you to the Opinion section for always being a welcoming place for me and my thoughts. To the staff that I have had the pleasure to work with, it has been amazing getting to know you and watch you grow into thoughtful, powerful writers over the past two years. To Jacob Kowalski, Opinion editor and “Most Sarcastic” member of the DC two years running, thank you for being such an amazing partner and friend. This job would not have been half as enjoyable without you and I am constantly in awe of your kindness and intelligence both within and outside of the Daily Campus.

While this column is going to have to end soon, the gratitude I have for every single member of this newspaper will go on. Without all of you I would never know how quickly I can write under pressure, or what “Africa” by Toto sounds like in alphabetical order (shoutout to Wednesday night production), and I certainly would have gotten a lot more sleep. I have tried to say goodbye to so many of you over the past week, and for some reason I keep seeing you all around campus. So, since my goodbyes haven’t seemed to stick I won’t say goodbye, I’ll just say see you later, Daily Campus.


Emma Hungaski is the outgoing associate opinion editor  for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.hungaski@uconn.edu.