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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Senior 30: From carhop to columnist

Tiaras+30+pic
Tiara’s 30 pic

Editor’s Note: “-30-” has traditionally been used throughout journalism to indicate the end of a story. Each semester, The University Star encourages its graduating seniors to write a Senior 30 — a farewell piece to readers — indicating the conclusion of a journalist’s time as an active member of our organization.
Picture this: I’m fresh back from a stint away from college – a year spent working in fast food for cash tips that ended abruptly when my workplace burned to the ground. I spent much of the years before my break burnt out and bored and am seeking some form of outlet to maintain the improved mood that my break has granted me. I wander to the listings on The Star’s jobs page one afternoon, and my eyes immediately land on the opinion columnist position. I really want to apply, but I don’t really have much of a journalism background, except for a year in middle school yearbook and a short-term gig writing embarrassing online listicles entitled things like “5 Forgotten Memes” and “An Open Letter to Those Who Stick Gum Under the Desk.” So, I don’t apply. But when the application closes, then reopens in December 2021, something in me tells me to apply, so I do. I get an email inviting me to an interview, and I schedule one via Zoom a few days before Christmas. As you can probably guess, the interview went well.
My time at The Star – which, despite feeling like a fixture throughout my college experience, will clock in at just under a year by my graduation date – has afforded me more opportunities than I could possibly have imagined when I emailed my acceptance of my position on a chilly evening in early January, even outside of the chance to see my writing in print, which was pretty dang cool. Shortly after I started writing, I was offered an opportunity to work with the street team, and I spent every Tuesday morning in the spring semester passing out papers on the quad and talking to people, friends and strangers alike, about all the different articles that had recently been published. Then, in April, I won Columnist of the Year, an award that my peers granted to me even though I’d only been a columnist for a few months, and that now sits on my desk as a reminder to keep going even when I’m gripped with imposter syndrome.
Then in August, Dillon, the opinions editor, called me on Zoom before school started back and asked me if I’d like to be the assistant opinions editor, which I agreed to because, even though my schedule was crammed, I was too excited about the opportunity to pass it up. And I’m very glad I didn’t; working as the assistant opinion’s editor has been some of the most rewarding work, I’ve done in my college career. Transforming our hardworking skeleton crew of three into a passionate, vibrant group of twelve has really strengthened my leadership skills, my editing skills, and even my own writing skills, and I’ve learned so much about myself and how to help others tell their stories in the best way possible.
Even amongst all the incredible things I’ve gotten to do, I think one of the best experiences of being at The Star was being able to write about things I cared about, things that I could ramble about for hours but couldn’t really find an audience that was interested. With The Star, I was able to research and write about these topics to my heart’s content. I also became a stronger writer for it: I grew better at writing quickly – and, at times, when I didn’t want to – editing my own work and sharing it with others. I even felt comfortable writing about my political opinions, something that I had kept close to my chest for years for fear of causing conflict. It became my own small form of activism and fighting for things that mattered to me.
Though I know I’ll have more opportunities to write, share my thoughts with the world, and work with the media after I graduate, it is sad to leave a place where I’ve built such a community. Between my work with The Star and my work with KTSW 89.9, I have spent hours upon hours in Trinity since January, working on stories, finishing up homework, or just chatting with other editors, columnists, and with our faculty advisor, Laura Krantz, our coordinator, Caitlin Mitchell, and Dan Schumacher of KTSW. Some of my favorite memories have been born during the time when I was in the newsroom because I wasn’t sure where else to go until my next class. Saying goodbye sucks, and I definitely wish that I had more time to spend with the friends I’ve made and strengthen the professional skills that I’ve gained in the newsroom; however, time stops for no one, and it is time for me to take the lessons I’ve learned into the big, wide post-grad world. (Word of advice to those reading – APPLY TO THE THING YOU’VE BEEN SCARED TO DO. Don’t waste time doubting yourself. My only regret about joining The Star is that I wish I had done it sooner!)
As my time at The Star draws to a close, there are many, many people I’d like to thank for supporting me throughout this year. Thank you to my family, including my parents, who were just as excited to see my work in print for the first time as I was, and my brother Luke, who will ask me where his copy is whenever I have a piece printed. Thank you to my boyfriend, Simon, who cut out my first article about textbook prices, framed it, and hung it on his apartment wall, and has read every column since. Thank you to Dillon Strine, my editor, who hired me with no experience, read all my jumbly drafts and 3:00 am “just submitted my draft” Slack messages, and frequently had more confidence in my writing and leadership abilities than I did. Thank you to Laura Krantz, who has been so supportive of both my nascent journalism career and my other pursuits on campus, and always offers great advice.
Thank you to everyone who sat down for interviews with me for my pieces, because your perspectives made my work that much stronger. Thank you to my columnists, who have been so eager to write about the things they care about that it makes me that much more excited to read and edit their work, and to the editorial board, who welcomed me with open arms in August when I got promoted. Thank you to everyone who voted for me for Columnist of the Year in April, who reached out to me online or in person to tell me that they loved my articles, and who shared my articles on their own social media pages and with their friends and family. You all have made me a better writer and a better person and have made my year at The Star one that I’ll never forget for as long as I live.
I’ve spent hours upon hours in Trinity and it’s sad to think that soon, my ID won’t unlock the door and I’ll have to find a new place to hang out. But I’ll always hold the memories I’ve made there close to my heart and carry them with me into my next phase of life.

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