Finding home in SLP 403B


When I was hunting for colleges four years ago, University of California schools captivated my attention. As a high school senior, I sought the authentic college experience on a bustling campus with endless opportunities. However, my mother suggested USD, a school that prides itself on treating students like a person instead of a number.

Despite offers from the big leagues, I enrolled at USD to ensure a college experience nestled in a supportive community. Yet, I couldn’t quite find the connection I came for. My classes were filled with people I had nothing in common with, other than our shared major. My federal work study job stuck me in a local elementary school, which surrounded me with 5-year-old peers all afternoon. My individuality complex kept me from rushing a sorority, leaving me without any sisters or a social life.

I started to sense that USD wasn’t the right fit for me. The university’s small size only made me feel smaller, and I felt like I was drowning.

Then, an e-mail arrived in my inbox. The school newspaper was seeking editors for the upcoming year, and urged contributing writers to apply. I knew the chances were slim, but I applied anyway. Hands shaking, I walked away from my interview thinking I had blown it. But the next day, a phone call invited me to the Vista office with open arms.

A lot has changed these past four years, but one aspect has remained the same: every Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 9-ish p.m. I could be found in the Vista office. In SLP 403B, I am surrounded by a group of students who share my love for print media. We are the storytellers, the investigative reporters, the sentence crafters, the layout masters, the photoshop wizards, and the deadline cravers. While we all come from different parts of campus, we come together each Tuesday to put together a 16-page paper, which takes pieces of each of our hearts and puts them together into a physical piece of art.

Now I’m not ignorant; I know that print media is dying, or at least changing, with the introduction of the digital age. I know most USD students would rather pick up their iPhones and like pictures on Instagram than pick up a newspaper and immerse themselves in our words. When I see stacks of unwanted papers form mountains on the newsstands, passed by students with their eyes glued to their smartphones, I’m reminded of the facts.

But when I walk into The USD Vista office, those facts don’t matter. I found a space on campus where the air is full of hard work and hope for the future of journalism.

Every Tuesday I am surrounded by a group of people who love, support, and guide me through times of professional and personal uncertainty. On paper we may be colleagues, but in the office we are more than just a staff. Through the hours of sweat and tears, these individuals have become some of my closest friends.

The USD Vista office has become my home, and its residents are now my family. Through all the ups and downs of my last four years, the folks in SLP 403B have always been there for me. I appreciate everything that each individual has done for me, one another, and the newspaper that we somehow always manage to produce before that midnight deadline strikes.

To all of you Vista-ers — past and present — thank you. Although graduation will soon separate us, when I look back on my four years in school, these times with you will be my fondest college memories. As I immerse myself into the adult world, I hope to find another community half as wonderful as ours.