I had just graduated high school when a copy of The Daily Tar Heel’s mail home edition showed up at my house, all the way on Long Island.
I had never heard of the DTH, but the excitement of receiving anything that was affiliated with my future college had me thumbing through the paper, reading about the worst dorms to live in and the best spots on Franklin Street. And then, on the back page, a huge ad: “Join our newsroom!”
I didn’t know anything about journalism. I didn’t even think I would be accepted when I sent in my application for the Copy & Online Desk. So, when I was, I don’t know what I expected.
I know I didn’t expect to find a love for editing, writing headlines or laying out print pages. I certainly didn’t expect to get pulled up to a desk editor position a month into my second semester. And I never expected that by the end of that first year, I would have made a spot in the newsroom to call my own.
And, after all of that, I definitely didn’t think that I would ever, ever choose to leave this paper before I graduated.
But here I am, writing my farewell column as a junior.
I guess sometimes things aren’t what we expect. There are lots of reasons that this column is coming a year early, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to one: as much as I love the DTH, it has never loved me back.
I can confidently say that — like nearly every editor here — I have given this newsroom my everything. I have given it my time. I have given it my grades and my sleep schedule. My passion. My effort. And though it’s hard to admit, I have also given it my health and my well-being.
And, for a really long time, I thought the DTH did love me back. But over the past three years, I’ve learned the hard way that an institution can’t love me back — especially not one like this, where the more you give, the more it takes.