College felt like it lasted exactly two seconds. I truly can’t believe it’s almost been four years since I moved into Zura as a freshman at San Diego State.
I guess it’s because I had a really great time here. I went to high school in three different states, so that experience was pretty lackluster for me. College was where I truly got the opportunity to blossom and better understand myself. I made so many great friends and am leaving the university as a confident, young journalist. I don’t know what more I could’ve asked for.
I truly got to experience it all. I started my freshman year as a fiery activist, literally leading hundreds of protesters around campus while yelling into a megaphone. Things have seriously changed since then, but I look back on those days very fondly.
When I joined The Daily Aztec sophomore year, I had never written a news story before and the idea of becoming an editor one day never seemed within reach. I seriously thought my writing was a joke until the end of my first semester at the newspaper when my editor at the time, Will Fritz, told me at a party that I should apply for news editor. I nearly cried when he told me I’d got the job that following spring. If you were to tell freshman-year Bella that she’d become the editor in chief one day, her head would’ve probably exploded. I still can’t believe it.
Working as a journalist on campus gave me an entirely different view on the college experience. The fact that I could tell somebody my title and have them automatically trust me to record their experiences is such a special thing. To all the people who shared their stories with me, thank you. (Except for that one guy who told me he was cheating on his girlfriend in an interview. You’re still a pig.)
I will absolutely miss covering campus news – even when it made everybody in Greek life want to kill me. For all the times I complained about late production nights, I would give anything to spend an evening in the newsroom with the editors one last time.
My heart goes out to my entire staff from this year who persevered through, undoubtedly, the most difficult year in DA history. Not only did we have to cut our print edition halfway through the spring semester and move entirely online, but we did so without a faculty adviser. Covering the COVID-19 pandemic on campus, all while grappling with the effects of it ourselves, was a feat no student should have to go though. I learned so much from you all, and I know every one of you will go far in life.
Thank you to Will Fritz and Andrew Dyer, the editor in chiefs that preceded me, for encouraging me to get so involved in this organization. I have learned so much of what I know about journalism and leadership from you two.
And thank you to David Santillan for tackling the news section with me during my junior year. I know you are a friend for life, and I will forever miss running meetings and moderating debates with you.
I absolutely would not feel as confident in my journalist abilities if it were not for my internships and past jobs. Thank you to all my editors and coworkers at KPBS, inewsource, The San Diego-Union Tribune and Voice of San Diego who took time out of their very busy days to teach me something.
Thank you to my family for giving me this remarkable opportunity and for supporting my decision to pursue this very financially questionable career path. I know my mom and dad worked very hard through tough times to make sure I was able to finish strong. I am now the first in my family to graduate college, with two degrees, and I couldn’t have done it without you guys.
Of course, thank you to my boyfriend Julian and my dear friends Delanie and Andrew. These were a very stressful past four years and I probably would’ve turned into a boring shell of a human if it weren’t for you all.
This is such an awful and difficult time to even think about graduating, but I know things will come together eventually.
And to think, as a senior in high school, I didn’t even want to go to school here. Now, I truly believe I was meant to end up at San Diego State, and my experience is proof of that.
Thank you, SDSU.