A new chapter at The Daily

March 7, 2024, 10:53 p.m.

Nothing compares to the rush that comes with a 3 a.m. publication — hectic conversations with editors, debates over headlines and sometimes colorful feedback on articles. Except maybe the existential panic as I write emails and coordinate conversations to stay at Stanford. 

My decision to write for The Daily started one of the  best chapters in my life, one that I continue to write. I started at a particularly difficult point in my life. A few people I cared about were no longer a part of my life — absences I was only starting to work through, and it was on the heels of an academically stressful sophomore year, and my finances were especially precarious.

While I continue to work on all of the above, The Daily played a significant role in making everything easier. 

I no longer write for the news section, but as a reporter, stories on how other students navigate the Stanford bureaucracy carried lower stakes than my personal efforts. When my enrollment, financial aid, housing, academic accommodations and academic progression are all on the line, it is impossible to capture how scary my personal trajectory was, time and time again.

The Daily is more than the articles, the interviews, the headlines and the lively feedback that people give on articles — one particularly colorful night, words like ‘nuclear option’ and debates over unwritten lines filled the room. The Daily is the people

Through the Daily, I met some of the most remarkable people I have ever met in my life, friends in religious communities, people involved in student and faculty government. I certainly would not have met one of a kind writers, staffers and editors.  I even started using the Oxford comma a lot less because of my time with The Daily.

Across my memories with The Daily, one conversation stands out: It was with two people at the house, what we call The Daily’s physical newsroom.  At this point, I developed a niche with my articles, and developed  feelings (since gone) for someone who unexpectedly became a frequent subject in my articles. These feelings crossed a boundary between reporter and source, and potentially a conflict of interest, so I wanted to ask some trusted Daily folks about the situation.. I was scared about how to approach things with my writing and with the person in question. 

The conversation helped substantially and everything worked out in the end.

I stopped writing on that subject. I eventually worked up the courage to tell that person how I felt about them. Even though nothing happened afterwards, I am glad that I confessed my feelings. I could not have done that without the impromptu conversation I had with that pair of Daily people. 

The fact that it happened unplanned is a testament to how I feel about the people that make up The Daily more broadly, and how they make others comfortable. They are an amazing group, who have made an incredible difference in my life.

I could go on and on about  fun memories from our weekly print production, the solidarity on display when writers and editors work together toward publication and shenanigans from getting to quote one another in laughably out-of-context ways — long live The Daily quote board. From social events (shout out to the social chair) to the marvelous misadventures with Slack and Notion navigation, The Daily means a lot to me. I could say a lot about how amazing the editors in News, Opinions, Humor, Arts and Life, Photo, Video and The Grind are whenever I work with them. Quite frankly, my time with The Daily saved me.

I don’t think I’ve told anyone that before. But that doesn’t make it any less true. In light of the difficulties I’ve faced since my sophomore year, I came close to transferring or dropping out several times. To this day, it would be wrong not to mention The Daily’s role in my decision to stay at Stanford to this very day. I’ve met people through interviews. I’ve met many writers and editors at the house. I’ve come around to thinking about myself in new ways because of, in part, the pieces that I’ve written. Quite frankly, I have so much to thank The Daily for.

I became a better person because of my time with The Daily. As a writer, a Stanford community member, a man, a survivor, a friend and so on, I believe that my life is better because of The Daily. I know that I still have another year and few months left with The Daily, and the time I have left is something I could not be more excited for. 

I don’t know where things are headed. What I do know for certain, however, is that I’ll continue to love my work with The Daily and look forward to  memories I’ll love even more. Forever and always, there will be a place in my heart for The Daily.

Sebastian Strawser ‘26 is an Opinions contributor. He also writes for Humor and The Grind. His interests include political philosophy, capybaras and Filipino food. Contact Sebastian at sstrawser 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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