I joined The Daily Pennsylvanian during my first year, in spring 2020.
Just that date says a lot about my experience. It was a really tumultuous time to be writing for the DP. Everything was moving so quickly, and I stayed on that summer too — another hectic time to be writing for any newspaper.
But I don’t want this column to be about COVID-19 or how my college experience wasn’t necessarily what I expected because there’s no point in dwelling on it anymore. Things happen. Life moves on. You live and you learn and all of those other cliches.
I’ve read so many of the senior columns published while I’ve been at the DP — some from people I didn’t know and others from people I love. But one of my favorites was by Theo Papazekos back in 2020. I never met him, and he was in sports (my second favorite department). He wrote about all the different drafts of his column that he wrote in his head. While I wish I could say I have written so many different drafts of this in my head, I haven’t. I decided to write a column after being asked at the senior sendoff, and when I came home that day, I sat with the thought.
Like many decisions I have to make, I ended up consulting my two sisters for their opinion. After much discussion, we didn’t reach a conclusion. But I was leaning towards doing it just because I thought it might be a silly, goofy way (everyone who knows me knows this is my favorite phrase) to go out at the DP.
And that’s what I think this column should be about: having fun writing for the student newspaper. I’ve worn a lot of random hats at the DP, but my favorite, by far, was being the Friday newsletter anchor during my last year. Why? Because it was fun.
This is not to say the DP isn’t a fun place — I’ve truly enjoyed every moment I spent in the windowless office. I absolutely loved meeting so many incredible people (you know who you are). But writing the newsletter was silly, especially writing it on Thursday night after production.
I was adjacent to the production process most of the time, only really popping in and out during production night. But it was a long and arduous process that tired people out. By the time Thursday night came around, most people weren’t in the office. While the news never stops (a recurring line from my newsletters), there were always slightly fewer stories to actually put in the Friday newsletter. That meant that I got to give the somewhat duller stories their time in the spotlight.
While this may not sound fun, it was fun to me. Trying to get people to click on some dull stories was always an interesting thing to do, and to be completely honest, I wasn’t even trying half the time. I was just having fun writing the newsletter. And it worked. I got the highest newsletter click rate (sucks to suck Jared), all because I was having fun.
So if the 139th board and every board that follows learns one thing from me, I want it to be to have more fun. Running a student newspaper is so incredibly important, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have fun. Be silly, be goofy, and most of all, be silly goofy. Everything will work out in the end, I promise.
Before ending this column, I also want to use it as an opportunity to say thank you. There are so, so, so many people who have helped me or been part of my DP experience in one way or another. It would be fruitless to try to name them all because I would inevitably forget someone.
I am genuinely so thankful for all of the wonderful people I’ve written with and about. To every single one of my news and copy editors, you guys have played an amazing role in my college experience. I am forever grateful.
Thank you for everything DP. I’ll love you forever.
KOMAL PATEL is a College senior studying philosophy, politics, and economics from Philadelphia. She served as a deputy assignments editor on the 138th board at The Daily Pennsylvanian, and was formerly beat reporter and general assignments reporter. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.