Senior Sendoff: Ranjani Shankar

I have had the chance to deeply reflect on my college experience the past few months, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic placing everyone in quarantine. When I look back, I realize that a lot of the best decisions I made in college were opportunities I got purely by chance and luck. One of those decisions was joining The UCSD Guardian.

I still remember my first quarter at UC San Diego when I was looking for an extracurricular activity that would improve my writing skills. What better way to learn how to write than to join the campus newspaper? When I went to recruitment, I was in awe of all the editors that spoke about their sections. I could see everyone’s passion and how they contributed to the paper. But when I realized that I would have to submit a writing sample as a part of my application, I was immediately turned off by the idea of applying. I did not have any confidence in my writing abilities, and I was sure that I would be rejected. Moreover, the one section I was interested in joining, Arts & Entertainment, was extremely competitive to join and almost full. However, I still wanted to be a part of an organization in which students from different backgrounds and majors come together to publish a full-fledged newspaper.

My solution was to join the copy team. By coming in every Sunday for a few hours to read and edit the upcoming week’s articles, I hoped to get involved with the paper n  and also find a content section that I wanted to join. Fast forward a year and I realized the only section that truly interested me was the one I was a part of all along — copy. My love for copy was definitely not “love at first sight.” There were many Sundays where I would have rather slept in or gone to brunch at the Bistro with my friends. But it didn’t take me very long to change my mind. The interesting articles, discussions on strange topics, and debates on whether or not to capitalize a word made it all worth it. I eventually became Head Copy Editor, but I never expected to be Managing Editor during my final year at UCSD.

I previously believed that the highest positions in the paper were held by people who were intending to pursue journalism as a career. When Daisy asked me if I would want to apply to be Managing Editor, there were many questions that ran through my head. Why me? Would I be good enough? Weren’t there other people in the paper who were more passionate and vocal than I was that could probably do a better job? But this time, these feelings of insecurity and uncertainty were familiar because they were the exact same feelings I felt when I first joined the paper. I knew at this moment, I was wrong. Even though I was not the most vocal person in meetings, I cared deeply about the well-being of the paper and grew to be extremely passionate about student journalism. I knew I would give it my all as Managing Editor of The UCSD Guardian. And I definitely did even though I unexpectedly graduated a quarter early and Spring Quarter was completely online

Lastly, I have to thank all the remarkable people I have met through the paper. Everyone’s opinion and perspective on various topics were enlightening and made me learn so much. I am not sure if I will ever get the chance to meet and interact with such a diverse group of people who share a passion for journalism. The editors this year were especially challenged due to the pandemic, but I am extremely proud of each and every one of them for how they handled their responsibilities during such a stressful time and allowed The UCSD Guardian to thrive against the odds. And, of course, congratulations to all the graduating seniors! We did it!