Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Agarwal: The unlikely path to my sports journalism career

When I joined The Daily in my sophomore fall, I had no intentions of staying long. 

I had just spent my entire freshman year online, transferred from Carnegie Mellon and was never in Medill. 

Flash forward nearly three years later — some of my closest Northwestern friends are from The Daily. 

My strong commitment to The Daily started at the beginning of my junior year when I covered the men’s basketball team. The beat initially daunted me. Much of the journalism lingo and etiquette confused me, and I needed to manage the fast-paced schedule. 

Working alongside beat writers Alex Cervantes and Lawrence Price and photographer Angeli Mittal, I found my footing several weeks into covering my first full-time beat. Alex and Lawrence served as the Medill professors I never had.

But the real fun started on January 8, 2023 – the date of my first road trip. 

At the crack of dawn, Alex, Lawrence, Angeli and I trekked to Bloomington, energized by Lawrence’s nostalgia playlist, Alex’s valiant driving skills and Angeli’s back-seat chatter.  

By the end of the 2023 season, we went on four trips — to Ann Arbor, Madison and Champaign. 

While these road trips helped me find balance outside coursework, the madness materialized in March. 

Traveling to Sacramento for Northwestern’s second-ever NCAA Tournament was an experience my sophomore-self would have never envisioned. 

And taking a photo of Jaime Jaquez Jr. and his teammates dancing for a TikTok video outside of Golden 1 Center before running away in fright was pretty memorable, too. 

Then, I applied to join The Daily’s Gameday staff in the fall of my senior year. 

Nearly every fall Saturday remained solely devoted to covering football. This meant no tailgates or darties and early weekend wake-up times. 

As the road trips continued, Jake Epstein, Angeli and I traveled to Lincoln for Northwestern’s Nebraska game. After a near-eight-hour journey through the scenic Iowa farmlands, we arrived at Microtel Inn, a rundown motel off the highway. 

Nearly having my credit card and driver’s license stolen upon check-in and Angeli’s room door propped open as we returned later that night, Jake and I bonded through the night in the corner of our shared room over sliced oranges.

Over the next several months, I took more initiative. Embarking on solo trips to Champaign for the Land of Lincoln Trophy or East Lansing and Piscataway for basketball, I was one of the only Northwestern student journalists in away venues. 

My second stint covering the men’s basketball team was surprisingly more adventurous than the first. By the season’s end, I traveled to six venues — including Minneapolis for the Big Ten Tournament and Brooklyn for the NCAA Tournament. I attended nearly every media availability — even missing class — just to tweet a photo of Chris Collins or Boo Buie with a quote. And the credential photos and pictures on opposing stadium courts persisted amid pushback. 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear or two as I wrote my final-ever basketball — and Daily story — from the Barclays Center media room after Northwestern’s Round of 32 loss to UConn.

A special thanks to Patrick Andres, Gaby Carroll, Charlotte Varnes, Skye Swann, who all served as sports editors during my time and entrusted me despite my lack of journalism experience. Lastly, a shoutout to Elena Hubert, Lucas Kim and Henry Frieman — all of whom I covered games with over my Daily experience. 

Over 100 Daily stories and nine Big Ten schools later, I am proud of every second I spent with the paper. While the diploma I will receive this weekend will not mention journalism, I am happy to have left a legacy behind on the sports desk. I hope more non-Medill students will build their communities in the Daily just like I happened to. 

Consider this the proverbial dagger,

AA

Email: [email protected]

X: @aayushyagarwal7

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