The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Senior column | I should’ve started here sooner

Something about me is that I accept challenges too easily, and the DI was one of them.
Staff photo of Sahithi Shankaiahgari

I thought my time at The Daily Iowan would be short, starting and ending with a 10-day workshop with the intensive Daily Iowan Documentary Workshop. Little did I know seven months later, I would be sitting in the newsroom typing up my senior column.

Initially, I thought my experience at the DI was odd, for lack of a better word. I had many thoughts running through my mind during the workshop’s rigorous long hours, such as why am I sitting in the dark listening to “I Fink U Freeky” with the volume turned all the way up.

It was a fever dream that continued for a little over a week and as the final days approached, I felt sad knowing that I would never be in this environment with all the wonderful people I met again. Almost 15 seconds after saying that thought out loud, Visuals Editor Emily Nyberg told me there was a job waiting for me if I wanted to be a photojournalist.

I knew being part of this newspaper meant a whirlwind of deadlines and endless cups of coffee. Something about me is that I accept challenges too easily.

My first months at the DI felt more like a fun hangout to me than actual work. Critiques were still new, but now I had people who could teach me the ropes of how things worked.

I’m thankful for the visuals section and editors, Cody and Emily, for easily accepting me into the team regardless of my random dance routines and weird impulses. Even more thankful that Cody lets me call him whatever nickname I can come up with. By the way, Smith isn’t his last name.

Being able to capture the Iowa Women’s Basketball team was more than what I ever expected, and I will never forget the energy of what it’s like to capture in Carver. To the photo book crew and producers, Ayrton and Grace, thank you for having faith in me and inviting me to be a part of the team. I know you would agree when I say that many times, I wasn’t able to see what you saw in me. Furthermore, being a part of the photo book has offered me experiences and connections that I am more than sure will last me a lifetime.

Through my long-form story on the West Liberty Hispanic community, I can definitely say I learned what it meant to be a true journalist. The emotions and connections I made with sources and being able to tell their story have been extremely rewarding.

Most importantly, I’m grateful to the DI and all the editors. Thank you for providing me a platform where I could grow, learn, and achieve. I’m thankful for the memories, laughter, sweet treat runs, silly photo ops on the railroad, and a great deal of inside jokes.

Yes, putting together a photo sequence still doesn’t come easy, my favorite part of the job has been collaborating with you all. I can confidently say the amount of knowledge I have received and learned from the DI, has shaped not only my skills behind the camera but also my ability to tell stories and the power of visual narratives.

Although journalism isn’t my intended career, I can surely say that this is the type of work environment I hope to be a part of throughout my career.

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