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Monday, December 5, 2022

How different it all could’ve been

A farewell to the place that allowed me to find myself

By OMAR NAVARRO

How do you say goodbye to something you’ll cherish forever? That’s kind of what I kept asking myself as I wrote this column. I’m terrible at goodbyes and for the longest time, I avoided doing this just because I don’t want to think about leaving. The Aggie holds a special place in my heart not only because I found myself here, but because it allowed an 18-year-old me to continue to do what I love — talking about sports. 

I remember being in my senior year of high school, getting sad thinking about how once I went to college, I wouldn’t have the time to watch as many games and keep up with sports the way I did. Well, I was partially correct. It wasn’t the same — it was even more than I already did. 

Coming into UC Davis I, like many others, had no idea what I wanted to do. I was just trying to find myself. It was easy to just hide behind everyone and just go through the motions, but I knew I needed to find something for myself. Through luck, fate or whatever you want to call it, I found out about The Aggie while searching through the ASUCD vacancy site on a late night in December. The thought of writing never even came to mind, and I had absolutely no journalism experience at all, but this weird confidence came out of nowhere and I applied anyway.

Fast forward to three years later, and I can’t imagine what my life would’ve been like without The Aggie. I would probably be doing some career I didn’t like and feeling even worse about what’s next. From the countless interviews of players and coaches to the times I was up late trying to figure out what to write, I enjoyed every second of it. Even when life got in the way countless times, this always felt like an escape to do what I love. 

If there’s anything being at The Aggie taught me, it’s that I have to trust myself. I’m right where I need to be.”

I have met a lot of amazing people through The Aggie that I probably would’ve never talked to without it. I don’t know if I can put into words how much everything meant to me. When I say I couldn’t talk to people, I mean it, and I owe this publication for getting me out of my shell.

To Dominic, the editor of the sports desk when I joined in winter of 2019, thank you. I don’t know if I could’ve asked for a better editor. You instilled the confidence in me that I could do this, and because of that, I kept going. I always had these doubts in my head when I started, but your feedback and openness to questions meant more than I could ever put into words.

To the sports desk, thank you for the amazing things you all wrote throughout my time here. I know sometimes I was probably all over the place, but you all stuck with me, even when we were all remote. I can’t explain how many times I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to help or doing a good job, but your engagement and eagerness to constantly improve is something that I don’t take for granted, and I can’t thank you all enough. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors because I know you will all do amazing things.

To the Editorial Board, I don’t even know where to start. Anjini, Margo, Sophie, Maddie, Eden, Katie, Allie and Michelle, I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for always being there for me and making me feel supported when life got in the way sometimes. Thank you for never failing to give me a laugh in our meetings on days when I couldn’t even crack a smile. Thank you for giving me all the confidence in the world (even if you didn’t realize it), even though sometimes I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. Thank you for always making me look forward to our meetings regardless of whether they were in person or on Zoom. I could go on forever with a list of things, but most of all, thank you for all for helping me find myself. It was a pleasure working with all of you and to be able to call you all friends.

And to the countless other people I’ve worked with over the years — Calvin, Sabrina, Carson and many more — thank you. You have all been a big part of my journey. 

Was writing this column only hard because I’m scared of what’s next? I think that’s the conclusion I came to. It’s difficult to leave something you love doing and start a new journey, but now, I feel like I’m ready for it. If there’s anything being at The Aggie taught me, it’s that I have to trust myself. I’m right where I need to be.

I will be forever grateful for The Aggie. It is something that I will never forget no matter what direction life takes me. In more ways that I can explain, I would be lost without it and the wonderful people I’ve met. Like I said, I’m really bad at giving goodbyes, and this has been one of the hardest ones.

When I look back on my college experience in the future and someone asks me what the best part about it was, the answer will be easy.

Written by: Omar Navarro

Omar Navarro is The California Aggie’s current sports editor. He joined The Aggie in winter 2019 as a sports staff writer. In spring 2020, he took on the role of assistant sports editor, serving in that role until becoming sports editor in August 2020. He is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication and sociology.