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Monday, December 6, 2021

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard

After four years at The California Aggie, I’m still not ready to say goodbye

When I first applied to The California Aggie fall quarter of my freshman year, I was worried I wouldn’t be qualified enough. When I got an email from Ellie Dierking, then-managing editor, saying that I was hired, I was ecstatic.

My first desk meeting went a little like this: I sat down on the old, worn out couches with the seven other people on the city news desk as Sam, the city news editor, told us all to go around in a circle and say our names, years and majors. When I said, “Hi, my name is Kaelyn, I’m a first year and I’m a biological sciences major,” all heads turned toward me as someone immediately responded, “You’re a bio major? What’re you doing here?”

I still laugh when I think back to that day, but the joke’s on them because I switched my major to be even more science-y: neurobiology, physiology and behavior. While being very STEM-oriented, I’ve always had a love for journalism. Journalism holds such power by way of investigation, expression and exposure. It allows a story to be told by giving a voice to those without one. One of the best things about journalism, however, is that although it has adapted and will inevitably continue to change, journalistic integrity and the sole purpose of providing factual and unbiased news remains intact.

I have absolutely loved my four years at UC Davis, and I could not imagine being anywhere other than where I am right now — and a big part of that is because of The Aggie. I have loved every minute of being in our dimly lit, beloved office at 25 Lower Freeborn, whether it was to lay out that week’s print edition for hours on end every Tuesday, attend late-night storyboard meetings or sit through 36 consecutive Senate endorsement interviews (which was honestly grueling, Hannah can attest). I have loved being part of The Aggie family and being part of something bigger than myself, for the sake of both the paper and the greater community.

But what really makes The Aggie feel like my second home is the people. I have loved working with each and every person on staff. I’ve learned so much from them, and I’ve grown so much as a result.

Thank you to Ellie for seeing potential in the small, nervous freshman who wanted to carry over her high school journalism to UC Davis. Thank you to Scott Dresser for being my first editor-in-chief at The Aggie and for providing advice and support even after graduating. Thank you to Bryan Sykes, also an amazing editor-in-chief, for being someone whom I can call at any time and always count on to give me honest advice.

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to Hannah Holzer, my fearless managing editor. Hannah: I admire you to no end, and I’m forever thankful that The Aggie brought us together. Leading The Aggie with you this year has truly been the experience of a lifetime, and I will miss it greatly.

After four amazing years at The Aggie, all I can say is that I hope I’ve given back to The Aggie at least a fraction of what it’s given to me.

Written by: Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee

Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee is The California Aggie’s 2019–20 editor-in-chief. She joined The Aggie in fall of 2016 as a city news reporter before becoming the assistant city news editor the following quarter. In fall of 2017, she assumed the role of city news editor and served in that position for two years before becoming the editor-in-chief her fourth year. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in neurobiology, physiology and behavior and a professional writing minor.

This column is a part of our 2020 Senior Issue. The rest of the issue can be found here.

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