North Texas Daily

Letter from the opinion editor: the journey is the reward

Letter from the opinion editor: the journey is the reward

Letter from the opinion editor: the journey is the reward
May 05
11:51 2022

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact I’m graduating. For all intents and purposes, this is the end of my life in academia. For the last two years, I’ve gotten to end things on a high note, in no small part to the North Texas Daily and an absurdly talented editorial board.

My approach as editor was to let the writers take the wheel, encouraging them to express themselves and talk about familiar topics in a way only they can. A vocal voice is the key to a successful opinion story. I saw my job as guiding writers so they could achieve their vision. I am immensely proud of the writers who helped shape this section. Their talent, insight and ingenuity helped make the section capable of both informing and enlightening the reader.

I also want to give thanks to the illustration team. Miranda Thomas and co. never failed at giving stories a new life and resonance in a way only their artwork can. They’ve made my work look better by mere association.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to my copy editors, my seconds-in-command:

Before she became the newly chosen editor-in-chief, Rhema Joy Bell’s saint-like patience was in full effect as I made the adjustment from being a writer to an editor. LeBron James fandom aside, her attention to detail has made the opinion section, and the publication as a whole, what it is for the better.

Maddie Moore’s work ethic and wizardry as a designer pale in comparison to her kindness and sincere good nature. It’s been a joy watching her grow and develop to be an indelible part of the Daily. She’s also a film lover who isn’t pretentious and loves the medium for what it can do. I better be in that Oscar speech.

I was initially apprehensive over the idea of working with a brand-new copy editor, but my worries faded instantly by Rose Wright’s immediate adaptability to a job that asks for so much so fast. Her otherworldly intuition challenged me to be more mindful and critical as an editor, always striving to make a good story great. Our print night improv sessions are the things of legend, she effortlessly makes a difficult time easy by just being herself with an incomparable sense of humor.

Not only do I bid farewell to the Daily, I am also closing a prolonged chapter of my life. I graduated high school in 2015, an eternity ago. It pains me to admit I didn’t make the most out of these seven years. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life nor had any curiosity to find out. Self-imposed roadblocks and setbacks made up those early years, and there were points when I was completely content to not challenge that norm.

I don’t know what possessed me to apply to UNT, much less be an editor for its student publication. Wonder of wonders, here I am. Being part of the Daily helped give me direction and initiative to pursue what I love doing and not apologize for it.

Those absurdly late Tuesday nights spent in the newsroom have been host to some of the most joyous, funniest and humbling moments of my adult life. The only downside was I eventually had to go home, making the night I had feel like a dream.

By the time this story is published, I will have made that final commute, lightyears away from a city I love yet still know little about. Chances are I’ll be resenting every bit of progress I make on the drive as I put more distance away from this job and closer to an unclear future.

Though I wish there were more time, I will instead choose to be grateful for the time I did have and cherish the countless memories made over these two years. On paper, working at a student publication doesn’t exactly seem like a dent in the universe. The pay isn’t that great either. But what it gave me by the way of joy, life lessons and genuine friendships is a gift of priceless value.

The future ahead is indeed unclear, but my time with the North Texas Daily has taught me that the unknown is not to be feared, but embraced with an open and present mind. I knew I was in over my head when I applied to be a copy editor/designer in fall 2020. Despite the self-doubt and a genuine belief I wasn’t cut out for the job, I saw it through. We all did. Though I don’t know what lies ahead, I might as well keep going.

Featured Image: Kevin Diaz poses for his graduation photos by the Welcome Center. Photo by Meredith Holser

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Kevin Diaz

Kevin Diaz

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