Serena Renner: Associate Focus Editor 2008

    (Will Parson/Guardian)

    I heard the warnings but I didn’t believe them. I didn’t
    think the Guardian had the power to take over my college life. But more and
    more I found myself skipping class to conduct interviews, doing late-night
    research rather than studying — or partying — and cranking out articles instead
    of sleep.

    However, looking back, the stress, criticism and caffeinated
    delirium were well worth it. On a campus twice the size of my hometown, this
    college newspaper is where I found my place, my interest and my voice.

    I first walked in to the Guardian’s Student
    office winter of my
    sophomore year.

    Leaving sports behind in high school except for a quick
    stint as a UCSD cheerleader (which I quit), it is ironic that my early
    involvement revolved around the UCSD athletics program.

    What started out as an investigation into the underfunded,
    oft-ignored department became a story of debt, threats of team cuts and rumors
    of an approaching fee referendum. The athletics beat is where I first
    discovered the inner workings of the campus, where academic prowess prevails at
    the expense of student life and UCSD has loyalty to a system with political and
    economic interests of its own.

    But it was the UC compensation scandal, the D.O.C. protests,
    union negotiations, rising tuition costs and the free-speech policy issue that
    really showed me an institution more like a business than a university.
    However, the Guardian has provided an autonomous forum for students like myself
    to critically think about the issues that directly affect us. While I’ll be the
    first to admit that the paper can be biased, at least every bias is guaranteed
    to be student slanted, representing the research and interpretation of students
    alone, rather than being filtered through the administration or influenced by
    outside forces.

    While news has been a somber, although exciting venture,
    working for the Focus section this year has opened up the positive side of
    campus, committed to many worthy causes from humanitarian efforts to the
    environment and offering a wide variety of activities that have potential to
    make any student feel at home.

    The most rewarding part, however, is the crazy bunch of
    talented writers, artists and leaders that I have met through the Guardian,
    whose mix of backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations and opinions have
    given me insight that I couldn’t have found elsewhere. I am grateful for each
    of you who have guided me, challenged me, made me laugh or taken a dropkick in
    the stomach for me! I will greatly miss the late nights, the singing, the inside
    jokes, the themed parties at Matt’s house and staring at those filled bins
    every Monday and Thursday morning, admiring what we have accomplished. Among
    the many things I am proud of doing during my time at UCSD, the Guardian will
    always rank at the top.

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