The Star’s favorite ‘people person’ says goodbye

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Courtesy of Bella Lopes

Bella Lopes smiles for a photo, Dec. 2019, outside of The University Star newsroom. As engagement editor, Bella lit up our newsroom with energy and sprit. She came at a time when we were tasked with establishing and building a culture our organization could be proud of.

Bella Lopes, Star Alumna, Class of 2020

Editor’s Note: “-30-” has traditionally been used throughout journalism to indicate the end of a story. The Star calls upon its graduating seniors to write a Senior 30—a farewell piece to our readers—indicating the conclusion of a journalist’s time as an active member of our organization/publication.

I’m a people person.

I had been accustomed to relocating my whole life, always having to make new friends and adjust to a new culture. This constant change was something I not only became used to but was craving.

I began looking forward to being placed in unfamiliar settings. After moving to the U.S. and up until college, I felt stuck doing the same things and being the same person I had always been. My first years of college were average, maybe too much so.

I still lived at home and drove to my community college classes every day, hoping to finally figure out if I would find the reason I was there. It wasn’t until I transferred to Texas State and started working at The University Star that I finally understood the importance of a college experience.

You’re expected to work hard and keep dreaming during your time at a university. They never tell you, though, how hard it actually is to accomplish that.

I remember the first time I stepped into the newsroom at The University Star, unsure about what I was doing and completely shy in greeting anyone in there, which is very unlike me. Everyone seemed too smart, too focused. What was I doing wrong?

Turns out, I just needed the support of people like me, students, who were also looking for these dream connections with friends and working tirelessly to “find themselves” during the most confusing time in life.

Classes and professors are tough, family members pressure you to do well, work tires you out more than it should, but finding connections and learning people’s stories is what pushed me to do, achieve and learn more.

I have learned to be more independent—that it’s okay to go to dinner by yourself and stay at home on a Saturday night. I have learned to accept all my mistakes and not beat myself up about them. I have learned to push myself more than I’d like to. I have learned to give myself a pat on the back when it’s needed.

Now after all I’ve done and discovered and all the people I have met, I am writing this, sad, excited, and hopeful, already feeling the nostalgia of sitting at my desk in the newsroom and having such fond memories. Working at The University Star has taught me more than I could have ever hoped for and has left me so excited about the endless opportunities to come. I never thought I would leave a college job I was so uncertain about, with such heartfelt friendships and newfound knowledge.

Thank you to all the people who have impacted my time at Texas State. Thank you to my new friends for always pushing me to be better and for accepting me as the odd one. Thank you to my family for supporting me and not questioning my decisions.

Thank you to my professors who believed in me more than I believed in myself and for letting me walk in late to class with an iced coffee. Lastly, thank you to The University Star for the most significant years I have ever had.

Although our time was cut short, my experiences illustrate the impact a small group of hard-working individuals can make in any young adult life. These are memories I will treasure for the rest of my life.

So, congrats to all my fellow graduates! If you’re anything like me, it’s still a surreal feeling.


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