Senior Farewell: Brenden Tuccinardi

by Brenden Tuccinardi, Editor in Chief

I don’t know how to feel writing this. Nostalgic, sad, relieved, overjoyed? Honestly, it’s all of the above and then some. This year – and this job – has been one of the hardest of my life so far. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my experience at The Daily Aztec for anything in the world, but I want to make sure people understand it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

Being a student journalist is hard work, let alone simultaneously doing it while living and working through a pandemic. I stopped keeping track of the number of sleepless nights  spent editing, and the countless hours spent thinking about how I would ensure the success and survival of a 107-year-old institution all blend together now.  However, at the end of the day, it’s rewarding work and I have nothing but pride for the legacy I’m leaving, and love for everyone I’ve worked alongside.

There are a lot of people I have to thank for getting me here. David Santillan, thanks for welcoming me into The Daily Aztec my freshman year, and to my cousin Kaitlin thanks for introducing me to him and pushing me to join. Cami Buckman, thanks for being the best first editor I could have asked for and teaching me what it means to write well.

Andrew Dyer, Will Fritz and Bella Ross, thanks for passing down much-needed EIC wisdom and providing amazing examples of what leaders look like.

Patty and Carlos, thanks for your patience and understanding as I learned the ropes and made those inevitable mistakes. Gary Robbins, thank you for your guidance and mentorship.

To my family – mom, dad and Jessica – thanks for being there for me during those tough moments and seeing the worth and power of my work, even when I was struggling to do so myself. To my roommates and friends, thank you for listening to me talk about The Daily Aztec all the time. To my Grandma, thanks for being my biggest fan. 

Kaitlyn Little and Em Burgess, thanks for being amazing friends and motivators and bring me down a couple of notches when I let things go to my head. Those nights in the newsroom making TikToks and 1 a.m. Taco Bell runs will forever be some of the best times of my life.

To this year’s staff, but especially the editorial board, thank you for trusting me and suffering through my awkward Zoom meetings. However, most of all I am so grateful for your dedication as The Daily Aztec charted new terrain. This year was nothing like we envisioned. We didn’t have the opportunity to share inside jokes in the newsroom or laugh through the pain of Production Nights. Some of you I’ve only ever met through Zoom. However, through your hard work, The Daily Aztec thrived in spite of the challenges set before us. The fact of the matter is, despite being entirely online, The Daily Aztec had its best year yet and it’s in no small part thanks to you all.

To returning staff thank you for carrying the torch. The Daily Aztec is a family. I’m not the first person to say this and I assuredly won’t be the last. My one piece of advice is to cherish this chosen family. 

I’m relieved to be closing out one of the most challenging experiences of my life. Actually, I’m overjoyed. I am also sad and nostalgic. The Daily Aztec has given me the fortune to meet some of my closest friends. It helped me fall in love with storytelling and discover new passions. Even in the dark times I never stopped loving The DA. I don’t think I ever will.