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Friday, May 24, 2024

Time makes you bolder

A farewell to my four years at The Aggie

 

By SOPHIE DEWEES

 

At this point in my career as a California Aggie journalist, I’ve told my Aggie origin story so many times. I could detail the sweaty bike ride to Lower Freeborn, my panic when I couldn’t find the office, eventually finding it and being a good 25 minutes early and the wonderful greeting that the then managing editor gave me, instantly making me feel at home. And while I could repeat this story in depth one last time, I would instead like to focus on the moments I’ve come to cherish since becoming part of this organization; the shared laughs and pure silliness as well as the more difficult conversations that we’ve had.

I’ve had the privilege of sitting on the Editorial Board of The Aggie for three years in different capacities, and it’s hard to express how much that time has meant to me. Each year has brought in a new group of passionate, intelligent and kind individuals who have not only been incredible co-workers but have also become some of my closest friends. This year, we’ve written editorials on a wide spectrum of topics, some as lighthearted as describing our favorite songs to listen to in the spring and others addressing heartbreaking events in our city. 

One meeting that stands out to me from this past year is when we discussed how to address the recent stabbings in Davis. When local tragedy strikes, it can be easy to feel like there is little you can personally do. We were in the unique position to have a platform to share our opinions with our community members, and that, in a way, was reassuring. I think it speaks to our ability as journalists that we continued to write and hold calm discussions about difficult topics during that Ed Board meeting, even under challenging circumstances. 

And in addition to our editorials, many members of Ed Board put in extra hours to make sure we were quickly providing updates that were well-written and informative. I’ve never been more proud to lead The Aggie than during those few weeks when I observed our staffers continuing to serve the community during a nearly unprecedented time of fear and uncertainty. 

We have a little tradition at The Aggie that we refer to as “wall quotes” — we collect them throughout the year whenever a staffer says something funny or something that would sound silly taken out of context and cover our walls with them at the end of spring quarter. My love for the people I’ve worked with on Ed Board can be best contextualized with a quote from our current features editor: “If I didn’t actually like you guys, these sessions would be unbearable.” 

Though we often got hung up on one paragraph (or even one sentence) for a perhaps unreasonable amount of time, I never failed to enjoy lengthier editing sessions (who wouldn’t want an excuse to continue hanging out with their friends?) 

The friendships that I’ve developed and the friendly, open-minded community at The Aggie have given me so much. In this welcoming setting, I’ve become more knowledgeable about my local community and have learned how to better express myself in both my written work and in conversations with my peers. Additionally, as the title of this column suggests, I’ve become more confident in myself. Stevie Nicks had it right; time truly does make you bolder, as does the support and encouragement of those in your community. I’ve been able to grow and learn how to be bold through my work and those I’ve worked with at The Aggie.

In addition to Ed Board, my time at The Aggie has been defined by my work as a writer and as a member of managing staff. I’ve written articles about a disability rights campaign, interviewed our chancellor and the UC president and edited more features and campus news articles than I can count. I’ve had late-night conversations while heaving hefty stacks of papers during distribution and chatted with interested community members while tabling on the Quad. 

I do feel, however, that my time on Ed Board will be what I remember most fondly. Working with and gently arguing with my peers and then later becoming their manager has given me invaluable skills. It might seem difficult to navigate managing your friends, while also collaborating with them on written pieces (and outside of newspaper duties, losing to them at pickleball), but somehow, it always seemed to work. To all of the brilliant student journalists I’ve sat with on Ed Board, thank you. 

Since you are reading this (and you made it this far), I’m guessing you are most likely my parents, my friends or a random Davis student or community member who happened to glance through the senior column spread on their way to the humor section. (Or perhaps you’re a diehard Aggie reader. If so, you’re the best, thank you!) 

If you are the former, thank you for supporting me over the years. Thank you to my parents for teaching me how to navigate tough situations and approach new challenges with compassion and for always encouraging me to explore my passions. To my friends, thank you  for helping me come into myself as an adult and giving me some of the best memories I could have asked for in college. 

And if you are a stranger, simply reading this out of interest, thank you for supporting The Aggie. Whether you read our paper every week or just grab a copy every once in a while, you are why we, as student journalists, do what we do. I have worked over my four years at The Aggie to serve you, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have done so.

 

Written by: Sophie Dewees

 

Sophie Dewees is The California Aggie’s current editor-in-chief. She joined The Aggie in January 2020 as a features staff writer and took on the role of assistant features editor in the spring of that same year. The following two years, she sat on the Editorial Board, first as the features editor and then the campus news editor. She became editor-in-chief in June 2022. She is graduating with highest honors with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a double minor in Spanish and history.