The first press pass I got from The Daily Californian is still on my wall. The wall has changed at least five times, but the pass stays.
In the picture on the press pass, I’m in a red shirt I don’t own anymore (found at the Goodwill bins building my college wardrobe); glasses I lost in the dark at a Halloweekend party (purchased brand new for my “new college look”); and a perfectly straight-toothed smile (thank you, Dr. Skip Hudson).
I look so little in it. I felt so old when I took it. Why do 18-year-olds think they know everything?
I showed up to the Daily Cal office for the first time on a Saturday in my full prom suit. Not a metaphor for the folly and vigor of youth, I actually thought I should come to my interview in a suit after watching the boys on my floor rush business organizations (my lovely interviewer Amanda was in jeans and a T-shirt, God bless her).
I’m leaving the “office” for the last time in my basement bedroom, in a holey pair of green sweatpants and an old tie-dye shirt. Also on a Saturday. And everything is somehow worse than I thought it would be, yet so much better than I could have dreamed.
Last year, I called my mom and asked her to name one good thing about being an adult.
“Nothing,” she said. “Absolutely nothing.”
And I believed it then. But I’m starting to disagree, just a little bit, just on some days.
I lost myself a long time before college, and I haven’t fully found myself yet (does anyone ever?), but I’ve been picking up pieces around campus and the Bay Area for a while now. I found myself in cigarettes snuck outside the office, in the quiet of Strawberry Creek, in the snap of the air in fall and the rain in the winter. I found myself driving across the Bay Bridge while watching the sunset over Baker Beach. I found myself reading Lou Sullivan’s diaries for the first time.
I don’t find myself in my body, often, but I’m trying. I don’t always find myself in my community, but I’m making my own.
I had $6 in my bank account about a week ago, but I paid the first month of rent on a new apartment for me and the love of my life — so I can confidently say I have three out of six of the good-life qualifications found in my favorite motto: “Good sex / No stress / One boo / No Ex / Small Circle / Big Checks.”
I have a job lined up after school, even though I completed two of the three least practical majors to exist. I’ll leave readers to guess what those majors are; you’ll probably think of something more interesting than I will.
Maybe life doesn’t fully work out the way I thought it would — I mean, I was hoping to go into politics when I was 18. Now I’m a socialist (the center does not hold and all that jazz). Life moves on and it feels okay — even beautiful, joyful — more often than not.
I handled a lot of college by myself, but I also had the most wonderful people to guide me through.
Thank you to my general assignment news class who started with me — everyone who is still here, everyone who isn’t and everyone who already graduated. If you are reading this and were in my class, I love you more than I can say. Thank you for being my rocks and my constant companions, my most ferocious Jackbox opponents and the most amazing coworkers I could — probably will — ever have.
Thank you to the upper management over my time here, who have worked tirelessly to create a new legacy for the paper. I can only hope your successors will have the same drive, commitment and hope for our work, too.
Thank you to all the people at the Daily Cal who genuinely brightened my day every time I saw them. I love you.
Thank you to my mom, who always picks up when I call and always tells me not to drop out; and to my siblings, who always remind me I have people to keep living for and who make me laugh every day.
Thank you to my beautiful fiancé, who I love more than words and who I’m the best version of myself with. Thank you to my friends; even though you were always game to drop out, you gave — and give — me more love than I thought people could.
Thank you to the trans and queer communities of the East Bay, who not only welcome me with open arms, but remind me that every day I’m fully myself is a day I find joy — real joy — in being who I “am” (like I said, who ever fully knows?).
It’s been a sometimes good, often crushing, always crazy four years. But I’m ready to go — sad to go, for sure, but ready.
I’ll finish with an excerpt from the end of a 2018 letter I wrote to my future self:
I hope you get to a place where you don’t worry as much about how to authentically express yourself. Chase love, acceptance, honesty. Chase your dreams. Chase that authentic self.
Does writing a grad column count toward authentic expression? If it does, I think I’m doing alright.
Sebastian Cahill was a senior news reporter in spring 2023. He joined The Daily Californian in fall 2019 as a general assignment news reporter. In spring 2020, he was a senior staff reporter as well as the ASUC beat reporter. That summer and fall, he served as deputy news editor. In spring and summer 2021, he worked as a senior staffer for news. In fall 2021, he served as the head university news editor. In spring and summer 2022, he again worked as a senior staffer for news before becoming head fall opinion editor. He ends his career where he started: In the news department. He is graduating with an honors bachelor’s degree in English and a comparative literature degree with an emphasis in English and Spanish literature.