I plan to tell stories for the rest of my life, just like I’ve done at The Daily Tar Heel for the last four years.
Which is why it’s both comical and terrifying to remember that, technically, I was never supposed to be here. When I applied to work at the DTH, I was rejected.
That trudge back to Hinton James after I learned I didn’t have a spot in the newsroom will forever be imprinted on my sad little first-year brain. My name was not plastered on one of the colorful posters the DTH always uses to announce its new staffers. I checked, then checked again. Nothing. I was devastated.
I knew nothing about journalism and little about the DTH, but a friend had encouraged me to apply, and based on how she talked about the people behind the paper, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. She was the first person I told that I didn’t get hired.
A few hours later, I got an apology email from my new boss saying my application had gotten lost. My name should have been on one of those posters, she said. I still have no idea if this is true or not. I wholeheartedly believe whatever abysmal writing sample I submitted just didn’t make the cut. Regardless, I took my acceptance. I started the next week.
When I think about what this place means to me, I think about these people. The people are, quite literally, why I got through the door. Their passion and humor are what kept me here. Their drive and diligence are why I’m certain that, regardless of whatever hardships the paper will inevitably face, the DTH is always going to have a future.
So instead of saying farewell to the DTH, I’m going to thank its most vital part: the people.
To Kelsey Weekman, for telling me to apply. I have no idea who I’d be right now if you hadn’t. Maybe I’d be going into something that’s actually lucrative, but I’d definitely be going into something that I don’t love.
To Paige Ladisic, for convincing me I could make a career of this. Thank you for pretty much forcing me to intern. It was the best.
To Jane Little, for making sure that, in addition to all our hard work, we still had fun. Let’s go get a blue cup.
To Sara Salinas, for paving the way, for being a joy to laugh with and so diligent in your work.
To Alison Krug, for once suggesting in our satirical advice column that we should all “crochet a pair of Luke Maye eyebrows to wear in support of the [basketball] team.”
To Ana Irizarry, for being my work wife. For being such a steady friend and peer, for being so genuinely smart.
To Emily Yue, for starting conversations, especially ones about the DTH’s dismal lack of diversity. For being brave and confident. For Momo.
To Tyler Fleming, for making decisions. As simple as that sounds, I’m convinced that’s the hardest part of being a leader: choosing to be fearless in the face of the unknown and take a stand. Thank you for making tough calls today for the DTH’s tomorrow.
To the future: Chapel, thanks for stepping into a role meant for a senior with confidence and so much Vine content. You crushed it. Lauren, thanks for caring about local government and loving the Board of Aldermen. Alex, thanks for sitting on the ground with me after I went to Zog’s at 5 p.m.
The DTH doesn’t get a spot on my diploma, but I’ve learned just as much from everyone that’s passed through this paper as I have from any class at UNC. Goodbye sounds like the worst thing to think about right now, so I’ll stick with this: thank you.
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