Position(s): 2021 Michigan in Color Columnist, Statement Correspondent
Section(s): MiC, Statement
Semesters at The Daily: 3
When I applied for the Rick Freeman Memorial Merit Award, a scholarship offered through the Office of Student Publications, I took some time to comb through The Daily archives and read Freeman’s final column for The Daily in 2000. The article, “A different trip begins as life moves on,” spoke on Freeman’s thoughts leaving Ann Arbor and moving on from The Daily. I returned to the article when I found out I had won the scholarship just a few weeks before my senior year began.
At first, it seemed strange to feel connected to an article written before I was born. Even twenty years later, however, life at the university and writing for The Daily has had a similar impact on me. With graduation looming in the not-so-distant future, I ponder over what it will be like “leaving a place that has shaped who I am,” as Freeman wrote in his final Daily article.
It’s bittersweet that my first visit to 420 Maynard coincided with the beginning of the end of my time at The Daily. For the past four years, The Daily has been there to keep me updated on all things happening both in and outside Ann Arbor. Whether the content was uplifting or tragic, happy or nerve-wracking, The Daily helped me feel connected to my peers and the greater Ann Arbor community. It’s been amazing to contribute my own work to a newspaper that I’ve held in high regard since the start of my college career at the University of Michigan.
Last year, when it felt like everything I loved most about college life disappeared from the pandemic, I turned to writing. Most notably, I applied to be a columnist for Michigan in Color. I was amazed by the existence of an empowering space such as MiC, one that encouraged its writers to be vulnerable and candid. MiC gave me a platform to be brave and intentionally myself, and I believe I have a better understanding of my identity as an Asian American because of it.
Then, during summer 2021, I was a member of The Statement. Being a Statement Correspondent was an enriching experience, and I’ll always appreciate the way it encouraged me to reflect on myself and the experiences of those I interviewed. Coming back to Michigan in Color this fall has been even more rewarding. I’ve enjoyed getting to work in the newsroom, whether the night is purely productive or full of fun conversation. I’ve talked to people in different sections and gained a greater appreciation for the work that goes into them. Most importantly — now almost halfway through senior year — I’ve thought about how The Daily has helped shape who I am, not only as a writer but also as an artist, person and friend.
I regret not joining The Daily sooner, but I’ll never regret the nights of brainstorming, writing and revising. The Daily has brought me inspiration, personal growth and friendship. Thank you to the people at MiC, especially Anamika and Gabrijela, for everything. I’m glad to have had incredibly understanding and intelligent MEs leading an equally hard-working section. It’s an understatement to say that I’m honored to have been a part of such a wonderful group for the past two years. Next, thank you to the 2021 Statement summer staff for welcoming me to the team. Sammy, I’ll always appreciate your encouragement and quirky emails. And lastly, thank you to my loved ones outside of The Daily for reading my work and helping me find the courage to write in the first place.