Crying in my bed in my dorm room the first two weeks of my freshman year because of how homesick I was doesn’t feel like too long ago. But then I think about who I am right now, and then it begins to feel like it was hella long ago.
People always tell you “you’re going to find yourself in college,” and I didn’t really understand what that meant. I don’t feel like “I found myself,” but I do feel like I gained a sense of purpose and an identity I am proud of.
I am proud to say I am Latina, a journalist and a daughter of immigrants, and that is something I would not have been able to say when I stepped onto campus four years ago.
If I went through all the ups and downs of college these past four years to be able to say I am proud to be all of that, it sure was worth it. The last four years by no means was easy. It was a lot of stress, anxiety and crying, but all of that showed me what I was capable of.
And one thing is for sure. If it wasn’t for the opportunities The Daily Aztec offered me and the friendships I made through this newspaper, I don’t think I would have been able to get through all of it.
Covering protests, political events and stories within marginalized communities showed me why I chose journalism, it showed me the power the capability to tell one’s story has.
I remember walking in The Daily Aztec office my freshman year and feeling my heart beat so fast. I wasn’t very independent growing up, so going to an office, knocking on the door and talking to an editor was a big deal for me.
Patrick Carr, thank you for editing all those horrible first articles I wrote. Your leadership skills and your willingness to help me influenced the kind of editor I wanted to be one day.
Emely and Kayla, y’all definitely pushed me my sophomore year. Writing two stories a week on top of tests and homework revealed to me how much I loved to write because if I didn’t, I sure wouldn’t have been staying up until 3 a.m. to get those articles in.
Andrew, Andrea, thank you for believing in me to take on Mundo Azteca when I wasn’t so sure I could do it myself.
Being the editor of the Spanish section gave me a new responsibility: leading a group of writers in representing the Latinx community through their stories.
Through this section and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists SDSU chapter, I was able to build a community of Latinx student journalists whose goal was to make a difference through their stories and who was determined to advocate for more diversity in newsrooms.
Which leads me to the next person I for sure have to thank: Dr. Nate. I don’t think you realize how much our weekly conversations helped me these past two years at SDSU.
You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and you never told me the kind of leader I should be, rather you gave me the resources and guidance I needed to figure that out for myself. And for that, I am forever thankful.
Nicole Vargas, you tore apart my resume, but I never walked away from your office discouraged. You gave me the pep talks to go after my first internships. And even though you weren’t at SDSU this past year, you’ve been there to offer me advice.
Jay, thanks for letting me come into your office to freak out about jobs after college.
To the future student journalists of The Daily Aztec, there is power in journalism. The stories you tell matter, and you have the power to make a difference.
I will forever be grateful for the friendships I made at The Daily Aztec.
Jasmine Bermudez, gosh, I have no idea how we didn’t become friends before, but I sure don’t want to think about what my life would be without our daily conversations about what makes us laugh, mad or sad. I can’t wait for you to be the madrina of my children.
Emely, your kind heart and your advice got me through some of the most stressful times.
Kemi, I will always appreciate the conversations we were able to have this last year. You light up the room, and I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you do.
Tristi, you’re going to be a badass sports reporter. David, I can’t wait to see you on camera. And Will, I really could not stand you always tryna steal my stories our freshman and sophomore years.
But even through the many, many (it was a lot) arguments, I have appreciated working with you the last couple of years. You have already created change through your stories, and I know you will continue to put those in power in check, I can’t wait to read all of it.
The Daily Aztec, I will miss you more than I thought I would.
Alejandra, Diane, I know you are both capable of leading NAHJ and Mundo Azteca, I’ll be here if you need anything.
Kyle Betz, I’ll be rooting for you. You and Aaron will make one heck of a team.
Bella, you are going to be a great leader.
And most importantly, my family. Thanks mom and dad, you put your faith in me, and you helped me along the way. Your love and guidance led me to this point.
Tía Bremely, Tía Dunia, your texts from eight hours away reminded me of why I was here. To my familia, los quiero mucho.
Lo hice. I can, and I did.