Senior Column: Short, but certainly sweet

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The author then and now. Photo provided by author

Sophomore year, spring semester, COVID-19 hit. I needed some kind of distraction, I needed a job. One day while scrolling through the Daily Digest I found something that piqued my interest: Copy editing for The Daily Campus. I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but I figured it had something to do with writing, and hey, I could manage that.

After an intimidating test of AP style of which I had no knowledge of, I was surprised to find I got the job. Little did I know at the time, I wasn’t just joining a group of coworkers, but a family of kind, welcoming, creatives — a home base in the big sea of the University of Connecticut.

Junior year, I copy edited. Every Monday night for four hours, I tuned in to the Webex from my dorm, and edited, and edited and edited. I learned that oxford commas are forbidden — a rule that at first made me want to gouge my eyes out but I have grown to accept, dare I say appreciate. I learned what an em dash — this thing — is, and ever since I cannot — and will not — stop using it.

Once I got the hang of it, I grew to love these nights. I got to hang out with my copy editing friends, read about obscure events and best of all, I truly enjoyed what I was doing. Dare I say it put me in a “flow” state: the in-the-zone feeling you get when you’re so hyper-focused on a task that before you know it, hours pass. Classes and homework exhausted me, but after a long day at 8 p.m., working at the DC had the opposite effect — it energized me.

Senior year, I finally united with the DC building in-person. It is surprisingly small, and the back staircase is quite sketchy to be honest. But once you hit the production room, the coziness entraps you. The bizarre yet charming all-year Halloween decorations grow to be a comforting sight. And no other UConn seating beats the digital section couches. Now I know, I’m not part of digital, but from day one I knew I could not let myself get stuck in the horrid copy editing chairs. I claimed a spot on the ratty old couch, and I stuck with it until May. Was it a bit of a hassle? Sure. But was I more comfortable than every other copy editor? Definitely. Plus, I got to hang out with all the cool people in digital. I have no regrets.

“Ever since I joined production two years ago, The Daily Campus has been a consistency in my college experience that has brought joy and insight into my personal and professional future, and for that I am grateful. I look back fondly, and forward eagerly.”

Fast forward to January 2022 — my last semester. After taking about 20 credits every semester prior, I had a pretty light load for the home stretch. I decided, as showcased by my New Year’s resolution moodboard, that I would really try to take advantage of these last few months. I would take risks, the good kind, and make the most of the end of my time here.

On one of the first Sundays of the semester, Hollie, editor of the Life section, haphazardly addressed the couch crew: If we ever want to write for the anonymous Thirsty Thursday column, we’re always welcome.

I haven’t written an official non-academic “piece” since high school, maybe even middle school. I don’t even know what I would write about. But this is the time for risks, so sure, I’ll try it.

As the daunting deadline approached, I considered backing out, but I was determined to see it through. Once I thought of a theme I ran with it, and before I knew it, I was in-the-zone once again. My mind usually runs back and forth between a million things a mile a minute — it’s hard to slow down, and it’s hard to spew out coherent thoughts. But writing a story forces you to do just that. I was forced to concentrate my thoughts into meaningful, concise words. It allowed me clarity of my own thoughts, while also producing a meaningful piece of writing to show for it.

Next week, I was surprised to find that anyone could join the Life section. I showed up to the meeting, and was met with a warm welcome from Hollie and associate Life editor Gino. When I say welcomed, I mean that to the fullest extent: I was a non-journalism-related senior joining three months before graduation, and yet they immediately included me and treated me as their own. I attended every meeting and pitched or picked up at least one article every week — even during spring break. I was hooked.

I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, covering niche Benton events and writing crash courses for sports and even testing the water in entertainment. Not to mention, I got to meet and interview a personal idol — for which I felt completely inexperienced, but had a blast doing.

Freshman year I walked past newspaper stands without a second thought, but now I can practically see the blood, sweat and tears we pour into each edition. The Daily Campus is unique in that for all of the time and effort we put in, we actually have something to show for it, each and every day. That is rare, and that is special.

It has been an absolute blast writing and copy editing for the Daily Campus. Even though my time writing was short, it was certainly sweet, and I am honored to have been a part of Life (ha-ha). Ever since I joined production two years ago, The Daily Campus has been a consistency in my college experience that has brought joy and insight into my personal and professional future, and for that I am grateful. I look back fondly, and forward eagerly. Thank you The Daily Campus, thank you UConn.

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