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“Who am I, if not a student?”: Farewell letter from the Editor-in-chief of the Campanil, Angel Fabre

Heather Davis, one of my favorite characters in the musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, has a bit of a crisis when she is forced to graduate from her community college after taking every single course offered. In the third episode of season three, Heather contemplates what her life will look like as a graduate in a not-so-enthusiastic musical number, and asks a question that I have often wondered myself: “Who am I, if not a student?”

For the past twelve years of my life, I’ve been so focused on this steady cycle of going to school, counting down the days ‘til summer break and repeating the process all over again. Now, I’m looking towards a future without the same predictable cycle and weighted more on my own decisions. I used to be very fearful of the idea of graduating, but when reflecting on the experience and knowledge I’ve gained at Mills, I’ve begun to look forward to new cycles that will test my strength and stability.

This past year has been one of the most difficult due to the pandemic and adapting to the major life changes that came with COVID-19 mandates. It took me a long time to accept that I would not experience many of the typical events that come with being a senior, including an in-person commencement and having graduation celebrations with my friends. I’ve taken the time to grieve those moments and reflect on some of my special experiences.

As a first-year at Mills, I knew that I wanted to join the Campanil and one day become the editor-in-chief; however, I was nervous about my experience level and ability to be a leader in that capacity. Yet, when I was recruited by then Editor-in-chief Marisa Tangeman to join the newsroom my sophomore year as the online editor, I learned from my peers what it meant to report on a community and build relationships with one another. I learned so much from Calli Storrs, the managing editor during my beginning at the Campanil, one of the most dedicated people I’ve met.

Serving as the editor-in-chief of the Campanil has been one of the greatest honors of my writing career. I am grateful for the community I’ve been a part of at Mills and having the opportunity to share the accomplishments, events and organizing efforts of such an amazing student population. Being on the Campanil has given me confidence, has taught me how to fight for my words and shown me that — despite the many hardships I have faced in my life — I am a capable, intelligent and strong person. And I’m pretty good with pen and paper, if I say so myself.

I am especially thankful to the Campanil staff, who has continued to report on the community while dealing with personal hardships and the ongoing pandemic. I am grateful to Felicia, who has been the greatest editorial partner a person could have. 

Thank you, Achy Obejas, for pushing me early in my journalism career at Mills and encouraging me to take a leadership role.

Thank you to Keli Dailey who has been very supportive and important to the completion of my degree at Mills and a great advocate, advisor and mentor.

And thank you to my mom, who told me about Mills in the first place.

As I write this letter, it has still not fully dawned on me that my life will be going through a major transition but I’m excited to accomplish the goals I’ve dreamed of for my career. I call myself many things: a writer, journalist and storyteller, and I plan to become more involved with public radio, podcasting and music. My community at Mills has shown me that my potential is vast and I will be forever grateful. 

I’m excited to see the Campanil continue to report on the issues that students care about and be a space where students, especially students of color, feel they can be a part of.