The University Star's Election Night coverage

Ricardo Delgado (far right), a journalism senior, covering the presidential election night with Star staff on Nov. 3, 2020, in The Star's Trinity office. This marked Delgado's first experience in a newsroom and solidified journalism as his purpose.

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.

Ideally, I’d be mentioning all of the tangibly exciting experiences of college here — the people I met, the character-changing experiences I’d carry with me for the rest of my life. But, that would be disingenuous. I stared at a laptop screen for 18 hours a day for the last year or so.

The day’s almost here. I have nothing lined up afterward, as the patience-forging wait for DACA is yet to end. The gnawing malaise surrounding the prospect of being an adult is firmly rooted where any relief should be.

It seems like I’d call these last two years a wash, but something stops my pessimism — my time at The University Star.

I joined on a whim in the fall of 2020, knowing I’d need some sort of experience and a hobby during the many extra hours COVID-19 graciously gave most of us. I applied for the news and sports sections, thinking a cutthroat selection process would let me into one of them if I was lucky. I got into both, which was not my intention, but now I can’t imagine my time here any other way.

At The Star, in front of a laptop screen and (sometimes) in print, I think I finally found my place. Journalism was never more than an educated guess for me when I applied to Texas State, but actually doing the work, writing stories people want to read and talking to truly interesting people make my college experience a positive alone.

The Star is home to the most talented and dedicated group of individuals I’ve ever worked with and, likely, disappointed. Running one of the largest (if not the largest, then the most far-reaching) news sources for a big college town is no small task, as many of us Star employees discovered during the mind-numbing cold of the winter storm. I’ve never known stress like the stress I’ve felt in this job, but I can’t say it didn’t make me a better journalist and a better person, a personal improvement I’d like to credit to every editor I've had at every level here.

My first semester contained wall-to-wall new experiences: Covering the sports I love, interviewing former presidential candidates, covering an election and actually socializing with people my age (!!), all highlights which I can rattle off without negatives.

I definitely stretched myself too thin. Forgoing sleep for the sake of a deadline became normal, but I like to think that’s just a taste of the journalism experience. My second semester at The Star I tested the limits altogether, as I took on an internship at the San Antonio Sentinel and attempted to complete my college career with a bang.

I cannot say my mental and physical well-being did not tank in the last few months. I blame nothing else but my lack of discipline, the two black coffees a day on four hours sleep and not drinking enough water, which I’m sure accounts for the constant headaches. In the immortal words of John Mulaney, “Do my [editors] hate me or do I just need to go to sleep?”

But, I can’t say I’m unhappy doing what I do now. I’ve learned how this school works, had students open up to me about their mental health struggles and documented the (at least) semester-long hijacking of the students’ voice. Although it had its downs, this experience is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my days.

It feels wrong to ask for more, but if only this experience could have happened under normal conditions. If only I could have seen my colleagues outside of work and if only an unfeeling global pandemic didn’t take too many of us away from each other, maybe this last semester wouldn't have been such a personal low.

The Star dragged me out of my own head, and I can’t be more thankful for it.

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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