One of the first things that people usually learn about me is that I’m a Capricorn.
I got way too into astrology toward the end of high school and never really let go of my sign as a defining personal identifier. The thing about Capricorns is that we’re tough. We’re ambitious. We don’t like feelings. We’re not very good at responding to text messages.
It’s a great persona to take on when you’re coming to college and you’re insecure and you hate being vulnerable and you have a crushing desire to be the best because you got into UC Berkeley and your mom thinks you’re really smart and you don’t want to let her down.
Capricorns do not cry because they are homesick. They do not get overwhelmed with their course load. Instead, they take on overly intensive news editing jobs at The Daily Californian, where they are required to work 70 hours a week, never sleep and live off of a diet of Jasmine Thai lunch specials for 12 months straight.
So that’s exactly where I found myself in my sophomore year.
As it turns out, making yourself miserable is an excellent way to convince everyone that you’re really smart and work really hard.
So, during the first semester I was an editor, I stayed in the newspaper office even longer than I needed to, making nitpicky edits until 2 or 3 a.m. I pretty much abandoned all my friends who weren’t in the Daily Cal, making sure that all my free time went toward catching up on schoolwork.
By the end of fall 2016, I was exhausted. Like, slept-through-my-last-midterm-while-my-alarm-went-off-for-two-hours exhausted. I still decided to apply for a position as an executive news editor the next semester. Classic Capricorn move.
I don’t really remember doing anything that winter break but sleeping and watching TV. I let one of my new assistant editors write pretty much every crime brief over that period even though I should have done it (Thanks, Chantelle). Then I came back to school in the spring to start all over again. I cried to my mom on my way to the airport because I didn’t know if I could do it.
But when I came back, something had changed. With the new semester came a new editing team — an all-female editing team. Of course, we immediately made a group chat called “Girl Power.”
Our text conversations quickly grew from being a place to solely discuss news coverage into something more: a place to complain about difficult stories, to poke fun at men who made condescending comments to us, to send each other quizzes on which “deadly mythological woman” we were. The Daily Cal office came to feel less like a parasite that sucked away at my lifeblood and more like a semesterlong sleepover with my best friends.
It wasn’t that news coverage had become less hectic. In fact, it was even more intense than before, given that national media had branded Berkeley as “the battleground of free speech.”
But spring brought with it a team of news editors around me who weren’t just very capable journalists. They were very capable journalists who also made me laugh after a source yelled at me, or reminded me to have a piece of peanut butter toast when I hadn’t eaten the entire day.
So, to Cassy, thank you for being my best friend and roommate, and for teaching me that you can be an extremely strong person and also have a lot of feelings.
To Pressly, thank you for screaming with me in the office when we needed to blow off steam, and for buying absurd blue drinks with me because it was funny and we needed to laugh.
To Chantelle, thank you for helping me to learn that sometimes the cure to covering a late-night, emotionally charged protest is to order Papa John’s.
To Rina, thank you for always being a calming presence. I don’t know how you’re always so cool and collected, but you’re going to make an amazing editor in chief because of it.
To the spring 2017 news editing team as a whole: Thanks for teaching me to stop being such a damn Capricorn.
Thanks for teaching me that you don’t need to be miserable to be a hard worker and that sometimes when you’re exhausted, all you need is some girl power.