And here I thought the last piece I'd write for this newspaper would be about meningitis - it's sort of scary how quickly I can spell "meningococcal" at this point.
But when I was asked to write a goodbye column, my mind immediately went to the first time I stepped foot inside the office that would basically become my home for the next four years.
It was during the fall introductory meeting my freshman year, and I remember listening through the wall because the newsroom, where the meeting was being held, was too small to fit all the prospective writers, designers and photographers.
At that point, I wanted to be a lawyer. Nevertheless, I ran back to my dorm room in the Quadrangle and pored over the welcome packet.
I took my first general assignments story (about mystical Islam, no less) and was hooked. I became a copy editor and spent a year of my life in the Daily, working 40-hour weeks and coming home at about 2 every weekday morning, and then became a writer. First as a beat, then as a "senior writer," whatever that means.
In my time at The Daily Pennsylvanian, I've been privileged to work with some of the best journalists I will ever meet and to work on some of the best and most interesting stories I will ever have the honor of covering. I'm looking at you, Lee Stetson.
I've had the opportunity to call Penn out on its mistakes - and yes, Penn does make mistakes sometimes - and cover crimes that some seasoned reporters rarely get a chance to.
Somewhere along the way, my dream of becoming a fancy corporate lawyer and raking in the millions faded and was replaced by the image of me as an underpaid and overworked beat reporter, fearlessly battling corruption and greed.
At least the underpaid and overworked part is likely to come true. Still working on the fearless defender of the truth part.
In any case, I would not be where I am today without this newspaper. And without this school.
Despite all the times that I've called up University officials for comment on embarrassing or charged topics - really, Lori, giving out your cell phone number was just asking for it - I hold an immense amount of respect for this institution.
I'm not sure when the DP offices became home to me. The garish pink doors no longer seem quite so garish. I can pick out a lot of the people in the photos on the walls in production. I've even gotten used to the fact that there are no windows.
But I matured early, as a freshman editor, and "my" DP is long graduated. Walking the hallways at night, I remember when a certain city news editor would do cartwheels around the newsroom, pretending to be a gymnast. I remember phosign dance parties. And I could never forget about taking it to the next level.
It's a little weird working for people who used to be my copy assistants. Or who weren't even at Penn when I started at the Pink Palace.
But the DP that I started at pales in comparison with the DP I'm graduating from, and I'm grateful to have been able to witness and contribute to that transformation.
Now, it's time for you all to make your own mark at this university and at this paper. I will hopefully have a long and successful career - in large part because of what I learned here. I will always call this newspaper home and the people here my family.
I was told by a DP alumnus older and wiser than me that the goal of my career should be to get to a point where I'm doing the things that I loved doing at the DP out in the real world. How right he was. I'm going to miss you, guys.
Anthony Campisi is a College senior from Metuchen, N.J. He is former copy editor and senior writer. His e-mail address is email@example.com. He plans on pursuing a career in journalism.Comments powered by Disqus
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