95°
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 the sidelines to the final headline

Vanessa+senior+30
Vanessa senior 30

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.
I never thought I’d end up at The Star.
In high school, they let us choose career pathways. I chose two: medicine and journalism. The medical path was practical and something that would make my family proud. But journalism.. that was all for me.
I accidentally fell in love with photography as a 14-year-old high school freshman who needed an extra elective and was transferred to a yearbook class. A couple of weeks later, I was given a camera and was on the sidelines shooting my first varsity football game. From that day, I don’t think I ever wanted to do anything else.
I discovered that my favorite thing in the world was storytelling. I grew a love for documenting moments behind my lens. Growing up, I’d always considered myself someone who was shy and kept to herself. But becoming a photographer, I began using my camera as an excuse to interact with the world. I became Sports Editor and ultimately Editor-In-Chief of my yearbook and newspaper staff. I don’t think I lived out my nickname of “girl with the camera” until I graduated.
When I applied to Texas State, I was still doing photography, competing in events from Orlando to Seattle, all while still doing clinicals at a physical therapy clinic every morning. I was always told that studying photography and journalism would never lead me toward a stable career. So I applied as an exercise and sports science major, with the intention of letting my love of photography go. It was almost as if I had no choice and understood that my “hobby” would have to come to an end.
That was until Bobcat day when I toured Texas State for the first time, walked into the LBJ ballroom, and was introduced to The University Star. While my family was trying to drag me off into informational sessions in the science building, I was thinking of every possible way to sneak off and grab a newspaper.
I never wanted to let anyone down. I was first-generation and my family talked about me being a doctor my entire life. So I stayed away from The Star. That is until two years later when I met Brianna Benitez.
She was the life and arts editor at the time and I briefly told her about my curiosity about wanting to join The Star when I first came to college. She spent months trying to convince me to apply.
Then the pandemic hit in 2020. I realized how tired I was of watching my peers and friends take all the classes I wanted to so desperately partake in like photojournalism, media design and digital media. I knew that after quarantine, I had every intention of coming back to Texas State with a mindset of doing what I actually wanted to do when I first came here.
So I changed my major, applied to The Star and that was it. For the first time since I held a camera, I finally felt like I was on the path of doing what I loved most in the world.
I can’t express enough how much my life has changed since being part of The Star. I started out as an eager multimedia reporter who was just happy to be behind the camera again, to the Multimedia Editor who ended up being spotted on ESPN documenting Texas State making history at the NCAA Stanford Baseball Regional in California.
More than anything, I couldn’t feel luckier to be surrounded by the editorial board at The Star. I would’ve never thought Monday would become my favorite day of the week. I wouldn’t trade writing down “out of context quotes” from Arthur, listening to Marisa talk about Australia, talking to Sarah about what Colleen Hoover books we’ve read, hearing Kadence say, “Slay,” every 15 minutes, sharing my “weekend debrief” with Nichaela, convincing Carson to make Diet Coke trips to the Music Building, and bickering with Dillon over absolutely nothing.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star

Comments (0)

All The University Star Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *