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: Arts & Culture Editor

Kelly Smiley

Editor’s Note: This will be my last, and best, article for The Daily Aztec, because it comprises, almost, every emotion I have ever felt in this newsroom.

I am ready to graduate, but I am not ready to leave this place or these people.

This is my first and only newsroom I will be a part of before my transition into public relations, or as our sports editor Anthony Reclusado would say, my transition to the league of “hired mercenaries.”

For four years this newsroom has been my home. I have grown so much here, as a writer, as a mentor and as a professional.

There will never be another job that lives up to this, I promise you that.

The only way I was able to succeed as a journalist is because of the following people: 

To our current staff, I am constantly amazed by your brilliance. It will always “go down in the DA.”

To my past editors, you gave me the foundation I stand on and I can never thank you enough.

To my first editor, Elisse Miller, thank you for taking a chance on me, even after seeing my first story with a ridiculous amount of copy errors. You gave me my start in the journalism world and I remain eternally grateful for your patience.

To Madison Hopkins, who told me I could be an editor some day. Thank you for showing me the ropes of investigative journalism and editing all of my drafts, without losing confidence in me.

To Matt Bain, thank you for telling me my work was actually worth something and how I should never lose sight of what’s important in life.

To Kelly Hillock, thank you for making me work harder than I have in my entire life. Thank you for letting me branch out as a writer and for listening to my sometimes ridiculous pitches. But most of all, thank you for checking in and offering to help, even after graduating.

To Ryo Miyauchi, thank you for trusting me to take over your position, for teaching me the standards of an editor and for opening the world of entertainment writing to me.

To my current editors, Jamie Ballard and Jacob Sisneros, thank you for putting up with me for the past year, I know I can be a lot sometimes.

To Jamie, thank you for always being on the same wavelength and for knowing how to be both my boss, and my friend. You are one of the people I will miss the most.

To Jacob, thank you for putting up with my ridiculous headlines. Thank you for pretending to listen to my stories and laughing at my awful jokes. Thank you for trusting me to not run my section into the ground. I hope I didn’t let you down.

To the new staff, move steadfast, the world needs you now — more than ever before, but you already know that.

To the next editor in chief Andrew Dyer, I am excited to see how you will change the newspaper next year. I have no doubt you will push everyone out of their comfort zones, but in the best way.

To the next managing editor, Lilly Glenister, you deserve everything good in life — and you know it. You work hard for what you want and it was a pleasure to work alongside you this year.

To my three amazing roommates, Danielle Ralleca, Cindy Solomon and Selena Ma, thank you for listening to me drone on and on about The Daily Aztec for the past four years. Thank you for letting me read my drafts loudly at the kitchen table and supporting my caffeine addiction. 

To my best friends Haley Hammers, Cathy and Cheryll Uy, Tiffany Le and Justin Chi, I owe you everything. All of you have guided me for more than 10 years and I look forward to many more. I love you all so much.

To Christian Pinedo, thank you for reading the final drafts of my most important articles and giving me your honest opinion. Thank you for your continuous support, reassurance and inspiration.

Finally to my mom and dad, I owe you both everything, my education, my life, my beliefs, my values — you both have loved and encouraged me every step of the way and I will never be able to repay you for all you have done. I hope I make you proud every single day. I love you.

To this day, I still don’t think I belong at San Diego State, but I know I belong in this newsroom.

And I am not ready to leave it behind.

Editor’s Note: The following was added at 7:30 p.m. on May 4. 

To my successor, Cami Buckman — you deserve this. I am thrilled to have watched you grow since your freshman year. You always have the greatest ideas and I can’t wait to see what you make of the section next year. Remember when things are awful, you will get through it and it will be okay. Most importantly, if you really want something — fight hard for it.

About the Contributors
Christine Whitman
Christine Whitman, Arts and Culture Editor
Christine Whitman is the arts and culture editor for The Daily Aztec for the 2016-17 academic year. She is a senior studying public relations and communications here at San Diego State. Christine started writing for The Daily Aztec in 2013 and has never looked back. For questions of comments, contact Christine at
Kelly Smiley
Kelly Smiley, Photo Editor
Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Senior Farewell: Arts & Culture Editor