The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday February 2nd

Farewell column: Here's to the unexpected

<p>Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez is a graduating business journalism major in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC. Quiroz-Gutierrez spent four years at The Daily Tar Heel and was most recently the 2020 co-editor-in-chief with fellow senior Emily Siegmund.</p>
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Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez is a graduating business journalism major in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC. Quiroz-Gutierrez spent four years at The Daily Tar Heel and was most recently the 2020 co-editor-in-chief with fellow senior Emily Siegmund.

The most important lesson I’ve learned from four years at The Daily Tar Heel is that life often doesn’t turn out how you expect, and that’s OK. 

I never expected to write for the DTH for four years, I never expected to change my major to business journalism and I, most definitely, never expected to become co-editor-in-chief. 

The truth is, I applied to The Daily Tar Heel on a whim, like many others, because I liked to write. I was a pre-admitted business major at the time and I thought I was on a linear career path to some future job in the business world.

Luckily, somewhere along the way I diverged a little.

At a low point during my sophomore year, I failed a couple of business classes. I was sad and I didn't know what to do with my life.

I felt completely directionless, but, the one constant I continued to have was the DTH.

My friends from the paper encouraged me to change my major to journalism and to take writing more seriously. And slowly, things got better and became more clear.

During my junior year I finally began to feel a sense of community at the DTH thanks to my friends Maria, Myah, Chapel, Hannah, Charlie and so many more. It felt good to belong to something.

I had only ever been a senior writer at the paper, but when former editor-in-chief Maddy Arrowood asked me to be managing editor for my senior year, I jumped at the opportunity to become more involved and give back to an organization that had done so much for me.

If I thought I spent a lot of time at the office before, I had no idea what was coming. During my first semester as managing editor I was consistently spending more than seven hours at the office (I know because I tracked it for fun). I loved every minute of it.

I’ll never forget the catchphrase games, the Thursday night Linda’s runs or even the late night deadline crunches. 

But, wow, do those deadline crunches get you. 

Reader, finishing the paper by 11:30 p.m. may seem like an easy feat. 

It’s not. 

You may even have the whole paper laid out and sent, when Tony from the printer calls and tells you to split your front page (hello, decade-in-review edition). 

Even on deadline, being around my friends made the pressure bearable. As I transitioned into the role of co-editor-in-chief, my fellow editors stepped up so much, they made the job easy.

I never expected The Daily Tar Heel to make such an impact on my life. It gave me a voice to write about the things that interest me and honed my reporting skills beyond what I ever thought possible. It put me on the track to a career I’m passionate about and enjoy. And it connected me with so many wonderful friends and mentors that I would never have met otherwise.

Now, while the COVID-19 pandemic has once again launched my life into the unexpected, I take comfort in the fact that I’ve faced it before and made it out just fine.

Thank you, Daily Tar Heel for teaching me that. 

@marcoquiroz10

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