San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Senior Farewell: Maritza Camacho

Photo courtesy of Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo.

I always knew San Diego State was going to be my second home. When I first walked down Campanile Dr. at 18 years old, I had that fluttering feeling in my stomach that I knew it was the place I belonged. No other college campus I visited at the time gave me that feeling. At 22 years old, it warms my heart to say I still have that feeling walking on campus.

Journalism was not my first choice as a career. I was never the type of student who knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. All I knew was that I wanted to make a positive impact on the world. I wanted to be a storyteller and have my work feel rewarding. That led to me choosing business as my first major. You can already expect how terrible that was for me.

After feeling lost about what the future looked like, I let a career aptitude test determine the career I was best fit for. The result was public relations but since that wasn’t offered at Santa Rosa Junior College, my transfer counselor told me to start off in journalism for the meantime.

Journalism was a placeholder for public relations. However, after taking my first journalism class, journalism became more than just a placeholder. It became my art.

I learned about the importance of “giving a voice to the voiceless,” and it’s something I live by now with everything I do and plan to do in my career.

Journalism allowed me to take risks and provide the opportunity to learn something new everyday.

In the fall of 2020, I released my first podcast about the Bachelor Franchise. Podcasting became an outlet for me to escape when it seemed the world around me was falling apart.

The following year, a group of student journalists and I developed a four-episode podcast called “Chronic Catastrophe,” where we talked about how the natural disasters my hometown was experiencing would affect our minds, bodies and spirits. After eight months of late night recording, editing and collaborative hard work, our podcast became NPR-syndicated.

It was one of the most rewarding feelings in my life, especially because I realized how deeply I loved the process of creating a podcast.

I want to thank Lauren Spates, Nick Vides and Rebecca Bell for having patience with myself and each other when we thought we wouldn’t be able to pull it off. I have the utmost gratitude for Anne Belden and Lauren Spates because they saw the potential in me that I couldn’t see in myself. Any time I ever felt like an imposter in the journalism industry, they not only pushed me out of that mindset, but also continued to challenge me even more.

I want to thank my mom for convincing me to listen to my crazy professor who wanted me to do this fellowship. It changed my life. I also want to thank my parents for being my biggest cheerleaders, even when they still question what my career path is.

As I arrived at SDSU, the student chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists continuously made me feel empowered and seen as a Latina journalist. I’m glad to have joined and given the chance to meet the most badass future journalists at SDSU.

I’m thankful for Natalie Dudas-Thomas at KPBS for giving a chance on someone with little experience in social media management to run KPBS’s social media platforms. I’m grateful for the creative liberty she gave me and the valuable guidance on how to be a social media manager. I’m forever grateful for this internship because it allowed me to find a newfound passion for social media and drive to continue down the path of social media management.

Lastly, I want to thank The Daily Aztec for giving me a platform to continue honing my writing skills. Although many times I was too busy to write as many stories as I would like, whenever I had a story idea everyone was all ears. Most importantly, The Daily Aztec continued to challenge and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone.

I was a big advocate that I never wanted to try out broadcast news because I convinced myself I was never going to be good at it. I want to thank Fatima López for encouraging me to take that leap of faith and try it out at least once. She pushed me out of my comfort zone even more by telling me I was going to do the Spanish live show. I’ve always been somewhat self-conscious about my accent but the encouragement from the live show team every Wednesday allowed me to build confidence with speaking Spanish and growing my on-air presence.

In college I made mistakes, but I don’t have any regrets. The best thing I did was say “yes.” I tried all kinds of career paths within journalism. I had successes and I had failures. I want to advise the current students that there is no one lane that fits all.

There will be many days of uncertainty and lows. There will be days you see your byline for the first time and you’re on cloud nine. You’ll climb the hills faster if you take risks. Say yes to any opportunity, but know your self-worth. Don’t work for someone who repeatedly calls you Martinez during an interview when your name is clearly Maritza.

In the fourth grade, I was a writer for my elementary school’s newspaper, writing about student elections and contributing to an advice column. If I could see little Maritza now, I would reassure her that everything will be ok. To all the graduates who don’t know what they’re doing, everything will be OK.

My high school graduation cap said, “And my story continues.” Hold on tight, folks, because my story is just getting started.

About the Contributor
Maritza Camacho, Staff Writer
Maritza is a fourth-year journalism major at San Diego State University after transferring from Santa Rosa Junior College in Spring 2021. Her desire to cover social issues started in the 4th grade when she wrote about social issues for her elementary school’s paper. Maritza also enjoys working out and listening to music, which will inform her arts and entertainment coverage. Maritza was an editor for The Oak Leaf, Santa Rosa Junior College's news media. She has won national awards for her COVID-19 coverage and podcasts, and has been featured as a panelist for the California Humanities Youth and the Ballot. In addition to podcasting and writing, she is the current social media assistant for KPBS and the social media editor for the National Association for Hispanic Journalists. In all of her current and future work, she continues to give a voice to the voiceless.
Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Senior Farewell: Maritza Camacho