Editor's note: This column references instances of sexual assault, which may be triggering to some readers.
It's incredibly difficult to write a farewell to The Daily Tar Heel, and to the University, when it seems like there is no definitive end to my college experience.
Yesterday I went on a walk through the mostly-empty streets of Chapel Hill, part of which included my usual pre-COVID-19 walk to the DTH office along Rosemary Street. As I passed by the big blue mural overlooking the 'how long can I park here without paying before I get a ticket?' parking lot, I was surprised at the amount of longing I felt for my famously defective office chair at the Opinion desk.
As previous editors have mentioned in their own farewell columns, The Daily Tar Heel can be an unforgiving place to work, especially if you are a person of color. As one of only two Black editors, and one of the small handful of non-white people in the office at any given time, this reality was definitely part of my experience.
This is not to say that my co-workers weren't kind, or that anyone was directly hostile toward me, but a work environment is more than the sum of its interpersonal interactions. There is a distinct feeling of discomfort when you are an "only," regardless of whether you feel this way due to your race, class, gender or sexuality. The sense of feeling like you are an out-group member among the people who are supposed to make up your in-group makes it hard to reach a true sense of belonging within an institution like The Daily Tar Heel.