Gabby Senior 30 illustration

Editor’s Note: “-30-” has traditionally been used throughout journalism to indicate the end of a story. Each semester, The University Star encourages its graduating seniors to write a Senior 30—a farewell piece to our readers—indicating the conclusion of a journalist’s time as an active member of our organization.

To be honest with you, I didn't want this job.

But only at first.

When I first transferred to Texas State in the fall of 2019, I never thought I would ever step foot in The University Star's Trinity office, least of all become The Star's managing editor. I thought those guys were too good, too smart, and frankly, out of my league (they still are).

But one random night in November 2019, I mustered up the courage to apply to be a news reporter. Then, I got the call.

Being a reporter for the news section was one of the best experiences of my life. Seeing my stories get published week after week was a satisfaction like no other, and it gave me a sense of purpose that I didn't even know I needed. And despite the long nights of writing and stressing out about deadlines, at least I knew I was doing something I loved — reporting.

Gabby Senior 30

Gabriella Ybarra smiles for her graduation photos on Texas State's Campus. 

I remember feeling so confused as the semester was wrapping up, when people from the editorial board began asking me to apply for an editor position. I still felt like a baby at The Star, and it didn't make sense to me why I would be qualified for a position on the editorial board after only one semester of being there.

So, when the words "managing editor" came from Jaden Edison, my immediate thought was simple: No way in hell.

Now that I look back, it wasn't that I didn't want the job; I just didn't think I could do it.

It wasn't until after I had conversations with my family and friends and a phone call with my predecessor, Sonia Garcia, that I was finally convinced to apply. I knew the opportunity to possibly have this position was too good to pass up, and so I swallowed my fears and took the leap.

I'm so glad I did.

Being managing editor of The Star this past year has been incredibly pivotal for my personal growth. I learned how to be an editor and a leader, and those are skills I will carry with me forever. Interacting with my fellow editors and our amazing team has been a privilege, and seeing them grow as leaders and powerful writers has been my absolute pleasure.

Working alongside like-minded people passionate about storytelling and reporting the truth is one of the best parts of working at The Star. Each of you is what makes The Star so great, and I'm so lucky to say that I've been a part of it.

The truth is, student journalism isn't easy. Completing college work while writing weekly for a newspaper and still making time to do the things that 20-year-olds do is a unique challenge. But through it all, we make it work.

So, where should I begin with the praise and thanks?

Thank you, Chase Rogers, for initially hiring me. Thank you, Sonia Garcia, for convincing me to apply for the managing editor position. Thank you, Kym Fox, for being my mentor.

Our 2020-2021 editorial board: Thank you for all of your hard work this past year. Despite the hardships, we stuck together and did some great things. And on top of that, you guys always made budget meetings and production nights enjoyable.

And last but not least, thank you, Jaden Edison. Not just for being our courageous leader, but for asking me at City Hall during our first-ever meeting where I saw my future at The Star and ultimately asking me to be your managing editor. It's been a crazy ride.

For those of you sticking around, I'm so excited to see what you do next. You will definitely catch me cheering you guys on from the sidelines.

It's hard to believe this is my last byline for The Star. To be honest, I teared up while writing that last sentence. I guess I just love this organization so much.

One last time, thank you.

Journalism is an act of civic responsibility. We see our work as a public service that is necessary for a community to thrive because knowledge is empowering. If you enjoyed this story, please consider helping us "Defend the First Amendment" by donating today!

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