Exactly 1,134 days ago, I got an email.
It was an evening commute like any other, back when BART riders were maskless and could still smush together like sardines.
My thumb hovered over the notification. I couldn’t decide whether to just get it over with or prolong the uncertainty until I got home. I clicked the link with my eyes half-closed and braced myself for the worst.
Instead, I got pixelated confetti.
I looked up from my phone, fighting the urge to share the news with anyone who’d listen. The rest of that BART ride was spent wondering. Wondering how to tell my family and friends, wondering what college would be like, wondering if this meant that all my work was worth it. Most of all, I wondered what the future would bring.
Turns out, the answer was a lot more emails.
“[The Daily Californian] Application update: Congratulations!”
Two chaotic semesters later, I got another email. No confetti this time, but I read it with the same mix of excitement and anxiety. To be honest, I don’t quite remember when or where I opened this one, but to say that it changed my life just as much as that first email would be an understatement.
As I made my way to the office for orientation a few days later, I spent the walk wondering. Wondering about the people I’d meet, wondering what working for a newspaper actually entailed, wondering if I’d even work there for long. And, just like before, I wondered what the future would bring.
Unsurprisingly, the answer was even more emails. What I didn’t expect, however, was what came with them.
If I was a more mature, worldly writer, this is probably where I’d mention the professional experience and marketable skills I gained as a result of my time at the Daily Cal. But the LinkedIn fodder pales in comparison to the friendships and memories I’ve made over the last six semesters.
Debates over the Oxford comma, copy editing to the “High School Musical” soundtrack, impromptu Menchie’s runs. None of this was mentioned in any job description. When I applied to the Daily Cal on a whim, no one ever interviewed me and asked if I was prepared to become emotionally attached to a cluttered Northside office and every single person inside it.
So to the hundreds of people I was lucky enough to work with at the Daily Cal, thank you. Thank you for teaching me that the best things in life often take you by surprise, even if that lesson meant pushing my poor inbox past the point of no return.
To Nick: Thank you for sending the email that started it all and hiring me! You taught me everything I needed to get started as a copy editor. Thank you so much to Jasmin, Lilly and Hanna for being an amazing team of night editors! Truly nothing could’ve prepared me for the late, late shifts, but getting to work with you definitely made it worth it.
Alex and Sarah, I don’t think I would’ve made it through summer 2020 without you. Thank you for being there for every frantic Slack, email and :’) . The Daily Cal’s first entirely virtual year would not have gone nearly as smoothly without you and Amanda at the helm.
There is no way I could end this column without mentioning the two best deputies a night editor could ever ask for. Jordan and Jocelyn, thank you for giving your all and then some. As much as we joke about #nthe and our brain cell (or lack thereof), you two are some of the smartest, most talented people I’ve ever met. I’ll always think of you when I see your heart emojis.
Exactly 1,134 days ago, if you had asked me what I thought I’d be doing in college, working for the student newspaper is the last thing I would’ve said. Staying up until the early morning to copy edit and produce a paper? Not a chance. The only AP I knew back then was the AP exam.
Yet, inexplicably, here I am. But I wouldn’t be here without the help of some very important people.
To Charles, thank you for being there for me throughout this entire journey. We’ve come a long way from eating wings at Late Night. Thank you for answering my calls when I was walking to and from the office, for always saving print issues for me, for every surprise GIF or dog video on production nights. If I included everything I wanted to thank you for, this column would be much longer than they’d let me publish.
Finally, to my family, thank you for your unconditional support and love. Thank you for always cooking sinigang when I’d come back home, for welcoming me back with open arms this past year, for every Puzzle of the Day. You do more for me than I could ever possibly thank you for. I love you all so much.
As my time at college, and at the Daily Cal, comes to an end, I can’t help but wonder about what the future holds once more. I realize I’ll never really get an answer, but who knows? Maybe now I’ll finally have time to clean my inbox.