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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

Finding my place at Texas State University

Texas+State+journalism+senior+Sarah+Hernandez+smiles+with+her+Editor+of+the+Year+award%2C+Saturday%2C+April+29%2C+2023+at+The+Star+Awards+in+Wimberley%2C+Texas.

Texas State journalism senior Sarah Hernandez smiles with her Editor of the Year award, Saturday, April 29, 2023 at The Star Awards in Wimberley, Texas.

Joining The University Star was the best decision I ever made in college.
I submitted my application to the life and arts section on the day they were due in May 2020. I can’t remember what prompted me to do something that seemed so brave considering how shy I was then. I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into. I had just moved out of my dorm in Tower Hall after spending two weeks at home for spring break because of COVID-19. I think I wanted to get more involved on campus since the only times I ever left my room were to go to class or cross the street to get Panda Express for dinner again.
My mom tells me she and my dad were shocked when I told them I applied to write for the school newspaper. I was a quiet person (even quieter than I am now) and it was difficult to imagine that timid girl doing the job of a journalist.
I remember the nerves I felt before conducting my first interview. It was over the phone, and I was sitting on my bed at home. I probably said “um” way too many times, and I remember cringing at the awkwardness of saying goodbye and hanging up, my hands shaking as I texted my cousin that I was glad it was over.
Writing my first story and seeing it published on The Star’s website was the coolest accomplishment. Early on in my time as a life and arts contributor, I continually surprised myself with the work I was doing. I interviewed John Quiñones after his Common Experience lecture and wrote feature stories about beloved Texas State community members and the freshmen who were about to move into their dorms during the height of the pandemic.
Beyond the work, I loved being part of the life and arts section. Our all-girl team bonded over our love for Harry Styles and pop culture at weekly Zoom meetings.
I looked forward to virtual all-staff meetings and socials. I didn’t know everyone else that well, but I had so much fun staying on Zoom for hours playing Jackbox games or listening to presentations during our PowerPoint party like the one on why “Cats” was actually a good movie.
The Star has been the catalyst for a lot of my personal and professional growth.
Being the life and arts editor challenged me in ways I didn’t think it would. For the first time in my life, I was leading a team that depended on me. I was trying to meet the expectations of a weekly newspaper, and I was only 19-years-old. I doubted myself a lot.
My time as the managing editor was a time of more learning and self-discovery. I took on a bigger responsibility and the task of helping lead The Star back to fully in-person operations. I discovered more about what it meant to be a good leader and editor. I also became friends with some of the best people I’ve met in college: the 2022-23 editorial board.
In January, I started keeping a list of my favorite memories with the e-board in my notes app. Some of them are big memories like the traveling I got to do with The Star, but the ones I love the most are the smaller ones like waking everyone up to watch the stars on the last night of Camp Star or running laps around the newsroom on Election Night to wake ourselves up.
It’s difficult to say goodbye to The Star, especially after the year I just had. I’m going to miss my walk to Trinity and my weekly pickup of the new issue to add to the stack of newspapers I’ve been building since January 2021.
I can only appreciate everything this organization has done for me and be proud of all the work I have put into it.
The job of a student journalist is not easy, but if I could go do college all over again, I would still pick student media to call my home.
When I joined, I never expected to travel to Washington D.C. with The Star and have my full-circle moment of meeting John Quiñones again, this time in person, at Media Fest 2022. I didn’t think I would place in a copyediting contest at a college journalism conference or dedicate my Mondays to 13-hour workdays to make a newspaper.
I certainly did not think I would get to the point where I would be writing this much about what The Star means to me. Freshman year Sarah who was so anxious about finding her place in college would be so proud of who she has become.
I tend to underestimate myself as a journalist, editor and leader. I would not be writing this Senior 30 if not for the support, encouragement, kindness and love that The Star and the people I have met here have shown me.
From my first editors at The Star who welcomed me and believed in me to my friends on the 2022-23 editorial board who made my senior year so memorable, thank you.
Thank you, Carly and Jake, for saying you read my latest article when I knew you hadn’t. That’s what siblings are for, though, right? I know y’all were cheering me on, and I hope I made you proud.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for supporting me through it all. For listening to me complain and cry when I had two feature stories to produce in one week, for sharing the link to every article I wrote on Facebook and for not doubting me when I told y’all I was going to be a journalist for my college newspaper.
If I’ve learned anything from my experience at The Star, it’s to welcome new opportunities with open arms. I’m sad to leave, but I know I’m well-equipped for my next endeavor. The experiences, the memories and the friendships I’ve made here are ones I’ll cherish forever.
Thank you, Star.

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