‘So it goes’

The photo editor finds her departing words


Courtesy of Mehroz Kapadia

By Nina Walat, Photo Editor

In a way, I feel very fortunate that this will be my only piece of writing that runs in the Daily Collegian. There’s something about working at a newspaper for so long and having no articles to show for it that is not only hilarious but makes this one feel a little more special.

Hi, my name is Nina, and I’ve been working in multimedia at the Collegian for almost three years now, and, unfortunately, it’s my time to go.

In “Slaughterhouse-Five,” Kurt Vonnegut wrote about this race of time-traveling aliens who didn’t go through life chronologically, but rather jumped around to moments in time. To them, endings didn’t mean much because they could just hop back to a spot where everything was as it had been.

It’s times like these that I wish I was a Tralfamadorian, because this moment’s ending absolutely sucks.

I’ve always been someone who’s ready to move on to the next chapter in my life quickly. I didn’t cry when I finished high school, I looked forward to summer breaks, and I’m very ready for my final graduation in a few weeks. But there’s something about leaving the Collegian that has left me so puffy-eyed and nose-drippingly sad that I gave myself a migraine trying to write something good enough to express how it feels to finally go.

There are no words for it.

Instead of looking at the ending, I want to focus on the best moments from my final few months here.

As readers might have noticed, I really love hockey. It might’ve been in my genes, or it might’ve been the press conferences my mom took me to while I was in my stroller when she was a sportswriter. Either way, I love the sport.

After having absolutely nothing to shoot for a full year, I was lucky enough to be asked to cover a game with a few writers. I packed my little camera bag, grabbed my two masks hanging by the door and hopped in a car to Connecticut with two guys that I had spent next to no time with while in the office. It was a great trip.

Actually, a great two trips: we had to go back the next day because UMass decided to keep winning.

A quick thank you to Colin McCarthy for helping me count how many Cracker Barrels we passed, and Noah Bortle for owning a car.

Courtesy of Nina Walat

UMass moved on to the championship in Pittsburgh, and following a last-minute fight with bureaucracy, Noah and I were able to follow them (we missed you very much, Colin). After nine Cracker Barrels, hundreds of miles of rolling Pennsylvanian fields and a total of eight hours in the car with my new bestie, we finally made it to the Steel City.

I’ve tried for hours to write out how fulfilling it was to finally come back to work, to be able to travel so far and see such a big event in person, but as I write this, I’m coming to realize just how fitting it is that I, the photo editor, can’t get the right words out.

Instead, here’s the last picture that I took in Pittsburgh. UMass had won the Frozen Four tournament an hour or so before, I had uploaded two of the thousands of pictures I had taken, I had tweeted a few of the celebration pictures that I had and I was dreading the long night of editing I had in front of me.

Noah, I had learned over the last few days, was much better at thinking in the moment than me, and was determined to get a picture in front of the ice, since this was the cap on both of our careers on the hockey beat. We speed walked through the now-empty arena as I was getting calls about the ethics of using photos of the hockey riots back home (I love you Mckenna Premus and Cassie McGrath). We found the first open booth that we could, I put on my self-timer and that was that.

Courtesy of Nina Walat

Looking back at it, there is absolutely no ice in this picture, and I should have taken the two extra batteries I was carrying out of my pockets. But regardless of its flaws, I will treasure it and everything that had to happen to lead up to it.

Thank you Noah, for being such a great road trip buddy, and again, for owning and knowing how to operate a car.

Somewhere in this blur of hockey, my many emails pestering the UMass Athletics department had paid off, and my section could finally head out and take their first sports pictures in a year as well. It makes me so happy that my long-time staff were able to see their beat again, and that my newcomers could have a taste of how our section usually ran. Their work has only surprised me in the best ways, and I can’t wait to see how well they can do when they come back in the fall.

With all of that off my chest, I think it’s about time to cut this off.

To everyone who’s come before me, thank you for paving the way for everything that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in the last few years. Without a century of staff before us, none of this would have been remotely possible, and I can’t imagine where or who I would be without the time I have spent at the Collegian.

To my friends that I’m leaving behind, please break in the new office couches for me, and for the janitors that you will inevitably find sleeping on them. You have no idea the things that you’re capable of, and I will always be a phone call away to remind you of that.

Thank you all for the opportunities you have given me, I’m leaving the Collegian a much better person than when I came down to the basement for the first time.

So it goes.

Nina Walat can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @nina_walat.