Bian: Making the newsroom a home

Andrea Bian, Senior Staffer

Graduation Issue 2022

It was spring 2019, and I would’ve elected to be anywhere but the newsroom.

During that time, going to Norris University Center every night at 6 p.m. was something I dreaded every day. I dreaded having to fill a page every night, helplessly searching for content when writing my own columns felt draining. I dreaded budget and anticipating every time I talked because I worried I would look inexperienced and naive among the more seasoned and experienced editors around me. I dreaded sitting at the last table of the newsroom, watching as other editors and writers laughed at inside jokes and went to Norbucks together.

It didn’t have to be this way. What I hadn’t realized was that the social and academic pressures of freshman year had rendered me nearly unrecognizable. The sociable person I was going into college was nowhere to be seen, replaced by someone who made up excuses for not going to Daily parties and left the newsroom as soon as possible when the work was done, instead of staying to chat with her peers like so many others did. I allowed myself to shrink into a hole, and no one in the newsroom knew me well enough to coax me out.

That all changed during the last week of publication that same quarter. Marissa Martinez and Gabby Birenbaum, who definitely noticed my melancholy demeanor (this has been confirmed to me), corralled me into their conversations. I stayed later and later in the newsroom every night, unable to resist discussions about The Bachelorette (Hannah B’s stellar season had just begun) or the memes of the time (cliff wife). By the last night of publication, I successfully stayed until sunrise, cry-laughing on the third floor couches with Gabby and making multiple Trillers with Marissa (TikTok hadn’t hit yet). I felt a weird sense of arrival. For so long, I had rarely felt like myself at The Daily and at Northwestern — and that was all starting to change.

After that, my Daily experience took a complete turn. When I came back to school that fall as recruitment editor, I came in when I didn’t have to, just to sit and chat with Sammi and Amy at the campus and city desks. The following winter as web editor, I sat with Charlotte and Andrew in our Journalism 370: Media Law and Ethics class and did everything but listen to the lecture. And when we were all suddenly sent away from campus and to our respective hometowns, I grasped onto these friendships like a lifeline.

Looking back now, that’s what I’m going to remember the most. I still regularly think about Vintage Splendor and the corn maze and The Barn and the boat and so, so much more. Even as many of my Daily friends have graduated, the relationships we built are still a constant source of support and help me feel stronger in the face of life’s challenges. I have nothing but endless gratitude to the third floor newsroom for making it happen — sometimes, there’s no place I would rather be.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @andreabian_