The day I decided to run for managing editor of the DP was the day my life changed forever.
I walked into Brysi Cafe to meet Ellen, the girl whose position I hoped to have in a month. The meeting was a formality because we both knew what I was going to say before we even sat down. It was something I knew I was going to do as far back as a year before, when in my first days as news photo editor Ellen told me about her banquet dress. Red has always been my favorite color.
So I made it official, said aloud for the first time that I wanted to do the insane and run for managing editor. Ellen didn’t even miss a beat. She told me what I needed to hear, and I told her I'd see her a few hours later at ranking. I left that meeting with a spring in my step, ready for the race ahead.
It was a Thursday. It had become tradition to end the week’s production at Tap House. I didn't usually go, but I wanted to that day. After ranking, I told Ellen I was going home to shower and I'd be back in an hour. (To this day I don't remember if I ever actually took that shower. It amazes me what I remember in clear, cinematic detail and all the pieces that are forever missing.)
As I walked into my dorm, my phone rang. An unknown number. I never answer unknown numbers. Yet in that moment, I knew I had to. Subconsciously, instinctively, in some fucked-up way I knew I had to answer the phone.
It was my aunt, a woman I hadn't spoken to in five years, and she told me I needed to come home now. And not home, but to Fox Chase Cancer Center where my mother had been admitted earlier that morning. She told me that I needed to get there as soon as possible and that I was responsible for relaying the message to my little sister.
Next thing I know, I’m on Locust, calling my father, two, three times to no answer. So I called his new girlfriend, finally got ahold of him and through stammered words I told him he needed to get Erica, my sister, to Fox Chase as soon as possible. Before it was too late. I would find a way to get there, I would call everyone, pay an expensive taxi if I had to. He just had to get Erica there and we would work everything out afterwards.
I hung up the phone, in hysterics — crying on Locust and terrified my mother would die before I got out of University City.
My next phone call was to Ellen. It's laughable now, but my second thought after getting Erica to the hospital was The Daily Pennsylvanian. Ellen was actually one of the few people I had told how sick my mother was, a diagnosis of lung cancer which had come the first week of freshman year. She met me, held me and asked no questions. In that instant, we were a lifetime away from the lunchtime conversation when I told her I wanted to be her successor, when I thought I knew what the next year would hold.
Twenty-two days later, I buried my mother. Two months later, I was elected the 130th managing editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian, and three years, later I am here writing my senior column.
I’ve never told that story before. I could write 100,000 inches on the stories never told during my years at the DP. And that’s the beauty of The Daily Pennsylvanian. Nowhere else on campus will you find a group of people more selfless than those in the Pink Palace. Every day, day in and day out, passionate individuals leave their own stories at the door to spend hours working to tell other’s stories.
And even in the rose-tinted glasses of hindsight, I know sometimes a story was just an article and things were often very far from perfect. But despite all the love letters and obituaries of that year, the DP was the place where I learned the importance of my voice. It’s the place where when I lost my sense of self, I found strength in beautiful people striving for something bigger and I was able to take a deep breath, steady my voice and continue on.
I have many people to thank.
To the 129, Clare, KRoss, EJ & Dave: Thank you for being my foundation for so many different things at this amazing place.
To Lauren & AComm: You should have fired me the moment you learned I would be doing 1:30 a.m. nights at the DP and then *attempting* to be helpful in the office the next day. Thankful for all the laughs because you didn’t.
To Taylor: For that first night in Allegros when we let our egos talk about “blowing shit up, turning the paper into a tabloid and killing a day of print” and every day that followed. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
To Carolyn, Travis: Thank you for never questioning the tears, the breakdowns, the missed dinner dates. Your friendship means more to me than you can imagine.
To the 130: I still feel blessed for all the hell, highwater and happiness you brought me. I hope you’re as proud of all we did as I am and will always be.
And finally, to my dad and Erica: I love you more than the world and could never have done any of this without you.
AMANDA SUAREZ is a College senior from Philadelphia, PA, majoring in fine arts. She is a former senior photographer, 34th Street features editor, news photo editor and managing editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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