It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Actually, it was probably more worst of times, but who’s counting? Serving on the 131st Board of Editors and Managers of the Daily Pennsylvanian killed my GPA and also kind of crushed my soul (temporarily). Going from an A student in high school to becoming painfully average at Penn, and getting two C-pluses during the first half of my term at the DP was something that nearly almost broke me. Factor in the fact that I'm an only child of two immigrants who managed to make it in America and expect way too much of me and well, you get the idea. But I’d like to think I kind of rose from the ashes right? There were also good times to be had, don’t worry.

I’m currently procrastinating writing my last final paper while listening to really loud party music outside of my house so all I have on the brain is microbio and saltiness. That’s also a sentence I’m sure you weren’t expecting as part of a senior column for the DP. What the hell is a bio major doing in the DP? Frankly, I still have no idea.

I honestly thought being in the DP was the straw that broke the camel’s back: the camel’s back being my chances of getting into dental school. It is SO hard to be pre-health and serve on the DP’s board. I enjoyed being part of something bigger than myself but used it as a crutch to enable my procrastination and poor time-management skills. I didn’t try to do anything about the too-long hours I wasn’t supposed to be spending in the office; my job description was not supposed to include 15+ hours a week in the office. I felt like a failure in all aspects. I was close to quitting so many times; I would’ve done it too, if I thought that I could actually go through with what I saw was abandoning my peers. Obviously and thankfully, I didn’t.

But don’t get me wrong, serving on the board was a really rewarding experience in hindsight; I just screwed myself over a little. While I do blame the DP for much heartache and unnecessary stress in the dental school application process, it also gave me a sort of clarity and sanity in the form of its people. The best thing about it was not just being a part of something bigger, but being a part of these people in particular. I met so many amazing people that I still consider my closest friends. Not just people who could relate to my pre-health struggles (shout out to Julio and Ananya) but also those who were just there for me. 

Though my involvement has somewhat wavered, what keeps me coming back is the faces I get to come back to, the department that I had a hand in growing and cultivating. I guess, in a way, one of my biggest takeaways from being in the DP was being okay with failing and learning how to adapt and grow from it; it was a lesson in humility but also a lesson in just being present. I still find it very weird that I feel so attached to something so unrelated to my life, but I don’t regret it. Stepping out of my comfort zone has helped me grow so much and I can’t emphasize that enough.

To Carter: Thank you for convincing me to not quit. I’m really proud to have been able to watch you grow from video editor to president/executive editor, whatever your title is now??

To Ilana: Thank you for everything, including all the dog and cat snaps and always smiling even when you’re salty af.

To the photo department: Thank you for accepting me and loving me even though I’m old and washed up and sometimes messy.

To Ananya, Carson, and Julio: Thank you for constantly making me feel like it was all worth it, because I got to watch y’all build something great. And also for the constant compliments and making me feel good about myself.

To Paola and Holden: Thank you for always keeping it (high)key real (#blowitup) and always being there for the good times and the bad. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And finally, thank you to everyone else I forgot because I’m not really good at remembering things, and thank you to anyone who read this all the way through because I’m not really good at writing things.

TIFFANY PHAM is a College senior from Houston, Texas, studying biology and fine arts. She served as the photo manager for the 131st board. She was also a photo associate.

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