People who know me will tell you that when I first walked into The Daily’s office in the fall of 2012, I was an immature, overexcited freshman. Just under four years later, I’m proud to say that part of me — the immature, overexcited part — hasn’t really gone away at all. The one difference now, though, is that I see myself telling stories from years ago and, well, turning into one of those boring seniors that I always raised my eyebrows at as a freshman.
I have the dubious honor of being the only Daily staffer in recent memory to be fired, and then re-hired, in the course of a week. The fact that this entire incident happened at all is a testament to what a great place the paper is and the kind of people that work there. I took a stand with several other editors on a matter of journalistic ethics (we won’t discuss it now, but ask around if you’re curious — it’s an interesting story), and I’m glad that I did. What I’m even more grateful for, though, is that when I stood up for an issue that I thought mattered, I was surrounded by a group of people who stuck to their principles and stood right up there with me.
That’s what makes The Daily such a magical place to me — in the middle of all of the late nights writing, editing and filling up the second floor whiteboards with semi-appropriate quotes, I realized at some point along the way that I was surrounded by people who believed in things, and that they were my friends. I probably have more friends that are or were Daily staffers than from any other group on campus. (There are way too many of you to list here; I’d go over the word limit). The best part about making friends at the Daily? A lot of them are younger than you, and I’ve had the chance to vicariously relive the sheer excitement of being a freshman twice.
There certainly are a lot of other perks that made my time at Stanford so much fun — the free food from CoHo (RIP) and Treehouse (welcome back) definitely meant something, but I’m not sure what. Certainly, the idea of paying for food at either of these places sits uncomfortably with me, and it terrifies me that I can have a long, detailed conversation about the quality of Treehouse’s cheese pizza on any given day.
What amazes me now, looking back at the past few years, is how much time I whiled away at the office when I should have been doing homework, writing for the paper or doing anything productive. I don’t have the faintest idea of exactly what I did with most of my time at the office, but a few memories certainly stand out — the April Fools’ Day paper one year that claimed that Stanford had revoked undergraduate admission for the incoming class, or the time one of us broke one of the frames on the wall with a football we were tossing around. One of my fondest memories at The Daily is tossing a football around for the first time on Panama Mall one late night. I actually learned how to throw a football from Sam Girvin that night outside the office — coming from India, football wasn’t something I grew up with, and I had to learn and relearn the rules of the game. Being around football-crazed people like Winston Shi, Do-Hyoung Park and Vihan Lakshman my freshman and sophomore years certainly fixed that, and thanks to them, I no longer sound like a complete idiot when I talk about sports.
There are so many more experiences that spring to mind about my time at Stanford and The Daily. In all honesty, I’ve probably spent more time in the office than anywhere else on campus, certainly after dark at least. It’s almost an impulse at this point — to swing by the office, even if for just a few minutes, every evening once it’s dark outside. What drew me to this wonderful community four years ago was an interest in journalism and the promise of free food and drinks. I’m leaving now with some of my closest friends, the ability to write, and believe it or not, the maturity that comes with pushing a paper out at 2 a.m. night after night.
Really, that’s what I want to say to The Daily, and the people in it. Thank you — I can’t imagine a Stanford experience without you, and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of yours.
Contact Nitish Kulkarni at nitishk2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.