Mike dropping, couch surfing and one too many puns: My fond farewell to The Daily Campus


Feb. 10, 2018 is a day I’ll never forget. It’s when I emailed Jacob Kowalski (The Daily Campus’s main Opinion editor at the time), expressing my interest in writing for the paper. A close friend had encouraged me to give it a shot, and I’d always had a passion and skill for writing. Upon receiving a welcoming reply the next day, I entered the back of the D.C. building for the first of several times. On Feb. 23 my first column, where I advocated for everyone to save the bees, was published. Little did I know this was only the beginning of an incredible journey!

Photo provided by author

Photo provided by author

In all honesty, I didn’t expect to last too long at “The Daily Campus.” I figured my well of ideas would run dry, or I wouldn’t have time to commit to it, or the novelty would wear off after a couple of weeks. But against all odds, I just kept coming up with things to write about and making time for my new recreational pursuit, and slowly but surely my journalistic writing ability improved along the way! I’d had no prior experience writing in this style, so I’m incredibly thankful that I was granted this opportunity to showcase and build upon my creativity, vibrant writerly voice and technical abilities (and to be an editorial board columnist beginning the following semester)!

I’ve mentioned my affiliation with UConnPIRG in several of my articles (and perhaps a bit too often for your liking). But keep in mind that without it, I might’ve never been motivated to join this wonderful organization or discover my affinity toward journalism, which I ultimately plan to pursue upon my graduation. I began my time here by writing about a PIRG-centric issue (saving the bees), so it’s only fitting that I’d end it the same way (this time by calling for college textbooks to be more affordable and accessible). If UConnPIRG transformed me as a person, then it’s safe to say “The Daily Campus” transformed my career path, and I’m incredibly grateful for both.

Although I always enjoyed sitting on those long, comfy couches, taking late-night trips to Vernon Diner, and attending formal end-of-year banquets, my biggest regret has to be my inability to develop close bonds with several of the lovely people “The Daily Campus” has to offer. Such was the inevitable result of my late arrival to the organization and my dedication to several other pursuits, but it’s still rather unfortunate to think about. On the bright side I still made some wonderful friendships, which I’ll address below:

Alex and Courtney, it was a pleasure getting to know you, primarily in that Media Publishing class last fall (and Alex, you’re welcome for connecting you with my PIRG people for your podcast! To this day, I still laugh about how you’d emailed me without even knowing I was UConnPIRG’s chapter secretary)! Clearly you’re each incredibly skilled at what you do, and I wish you well at and beyond UConn.

Kevin, we’re certainly on opposite ends of the spectrum on several issues, and I really only met you in-person once since you weren’t on the Storrs campus. But if nothing else, I can appreciate your writing ability and willingness to speak your mind without care for what others may think! I also wish you well.

Anika, you’ve been a real joy to get to know over the last year or so! I admire your commitment to other on-campus organizations, and on the rare occasions I’ve been able to read other writers’ articles, I’ve been consistently impressed by your thoughtful, straightforward approach! Keep speaking now!

Harry, I know we started out a bit rocky, but overall it’s been a pleasure to work under you this past year! While some may consider you an “extremist” or “provocateur” (and perhaps you deem those labels a badge of honor), I’ve certainly grown to respect your steadfast dedication to making the world a better place, whether via your passion-infused articles or other strong advocacy work! Keep up the good fight! 

Anna, you’ve been a wonderful editor-in-chief and friend! As a graduating senior, double major and fellow Tier III executive officer, I could definitely relate to your struggles (albeit not to the same extent) and admire your incredible ambition! I know you’ll be a phenomenal professor within the near future, and please feel free to stay in touch (I promise I’m much more engaging and intelligent than I might’ve come off in that English capstone class!).

Peter, I probably grew closest to you of everyone at “The Daily Campus!” Upon first meeting you, you reminded me very much of myself, quite shy and unconfident (and unjustifiably so). But it’s been amazing to see you grow as a writer and a person over the last couple of years! I’m truly thrilled that you’re finally realizing your full potential as the incoming editor-in-chief. I wish you the best, and I’m sure all of your signal boosting will come in handy!

Of course, I must also acknowledge a few recent graduates who shaped my experience for the better! Jacob, although we made several jokes at your expense, you proved to be a good sport and an even better Opinion editor! Emma, you were a wonderful associate Opinion editor, and I enjoyed being in that Psych class with you and seeing you do great work there as well! And Chris, it was a pleasure to serve under you as last year’s editor-in-chief, and I always appreciated your chillness and understanding! This past year wasn’t quite the same without you all, but if you’re reading this: Thanks for everything, and I hope you’re proud of me for sticking with “The Daily Campus” until the bitter end. I know you’ve all been doing great things, so please keep me posted and I’ll follow suit!

Before I wrap this up, I’d like to address my legacy, which appears to be predicated upon my penchants to “Mike Drop” (still proud of that column title) and incorporate puns throughout my headlines and articles (thanks to the copy editors for dealing with me all this time!). Indeed, I grew unafraid to be upfront and somewhat dramatic in my delivery, and I’ve always prided myself upon my ability to play with words! But as much as I appreciate being characterized the Opinion section and general paper’s “punmaster” each of the last two years, I’d like to clarify that I’m not just some snarky one-trick pony whose persona was arbitrary or forced. I loved to challenge myself by phrasing my headlines and arguments in clever, profound ways while still conveying my intended message, and I even strayed away from puns and snide remarks whenever I found more natural or effective routes to follow. But no matter what you take away from my “Daily Campus” tenure, at least it’s been memorable, which is more than many others can say. Whatever my legacy entails, I’ll warmly embrace it.

Anyway, thanks again to “The Daily Campus” and my readers for affording me this life-changing opportunity. I wish you all the best of luck, and I hope you stick with me on the next step of my journey.

Mike drop.

Michael Katz is an outgoing weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.i.katz@uconn.edu

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