Senior column | Goodbyes are never easy

The friends I made at The Daily Iowan taught me a lot, and it’s hard saying goodbye to them.


Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

I put off a lot of stories during my four-year career at The Daily Iowan.  This is the one I’ve delayed the longest.

Technically, I pushed back the due date of my senior column by an entire semester. I could’ve graduated in spring 2022, but I opted to return to the University of Iowa for the fall 2022 semester to cover one more season of Hawkeye football for the DI.

I wish I could say my decision was based on academics, but it mostly wasn’t. Sorry, mom and dad. Now that I can be fully transparent, I didn’t make many decisions with my academics in mind. I saw the opportunities the DI provided me as the No. 1 thing I should be focused on because I felt like I could learn more in the field than in the classroom.

Former Ohio State Cardale Jones once tweeted, “We ain’t come to play school.”

To a certain extent, I think my gamble paid off. I’m on pace to graduate this week, and with fewer than three days standing between me and the stage at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, I leave the UI having covered a football team that rose to No. 2 in the nation, a national championship-winning wrestling team, and multiple Big Ten and National Players of the Year like Luka Garza and Caitlin Clark.

Not everybody can say they have that kind of experience under their belts. So, I certainly owe my share of thank-yous to our Publisher Jason Brummond, the SPI Board, Sports Coach John Bohnenkamp, Design Coach Heidi Owen, and the rest of the DI’s professional and coaching staff.

While I am appreciative of the hands-on experience the DI gave me, the thing I value more than anything are the friends I made during my time in the newsroom. I came to the DI and Iowa City without many connections to speak of. Now, I leave with more than I can count.

We went through a lot together. We battled COVID-19 on physical, emotional, and practical levels. We worked remotely, met via Zoom, and found creative ways to stay in touch when we couldn’t be in the same space. We even adapted from a five-day print schedule to a two-day schedule. 

Despite all that, we achieved a lot, too. The DI was named Iowa Newspaper of the Year twice during our tenure. And ACP Award plaques from our careers now adorn the newsroom walls.

From a sports perspective, we launched The Daily Iowan Scoreboard — a weekly sports podcast dedicated to covering Iowa Athletics. I can’t thank Shivansh Ahuja, Chris Werner, Robert Read, Carly Dalberg, Kelsey Harrell, and Chloe Peterson enough for the time and effort they poured into the show each week. 

I also believe our sports staff achieved the DI’s goal of having “the most complete coverage of Hawkeye sports in Iowa.”

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have worked with and learned from the likes of Chloe, Robert, Pete Ruden, and Anna Kayser. It still doesn’t seem like that long ago when Anna was shredding one of my first wrestling stories in the media room at Hilton Coliseum after the 2018 Cy-Hawk dual. It was a learning moment, and it gave me the push I needed to get better and work hard.

It’s easy to look at things through rose-colored glasses and say everything was good. But that wouldn’t be true. My colleagues and I made it through some late nights and long trips together.

But moments like those are the ones that forge friendships and that you remember the most. They also make saying goodbye even harder.

To the coworkers I have and haven’t mentioned, my parents, and my managers and teammates at Menards, thank you for allowing me to pursue my career goals. All of you played a pivotal role in shaping my college career.

To my successor, whomever you might be, fasten your seatbelt. You’re in for a fun ride. You’re going to work hard and learn a lot, but I promise your experience will be rewarding. Keep your head down. Even if your professors — who likely encouraged you to join the DI to get field experience — continue to pile on unexcused absences, keep pushing and taking assignments. It’ll be worth it.

I know a lot lies ahead of me. I’m sure I’ll face a number of challenges in the coming weeks, months, and years. But I’ll always remember how we used to tackle problems together and use what we learned to push forward.

It’s been a fun ride, DI. Thanks for everything.