Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

I don’t know when I’ll write again, but this won’t be the last you’ll see of me

Use your right to write, not everyone has it
Frank Aronson

When I started at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian my freshman year amidst the pandemic, all my peers were all on Zoom — staring at awkward black screens the whole time was not the best first impression. When I first joined, though, my position in the Collegian was meant to be something super casual. I was under the impression that I’d write a story here and there when I could and that was pretty much it.

Fast forward four years later and this marks my 50th story for this paper, all while leading the social justice and politics beat as an assistant news editor, with a previous two-year stint as an assistant social media editor.

I never thought the Collegian would play such a big role in my life, yet I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to write and participate for all these years. The energy in the newsroom, the incredible minds that come together to produce some of the best content I’ve seen, the three-hour gossip sessions in the war room — I couldn’t imagine my college experience without it.

So, here is my goodbye letter to you all. To Cassie McGrath and Claire Healy, thank you for being such incredible leaders my first year. I came in with no prior experience with news writing, but your guidance and mentorship helped me become who I am today, and I don’t think I would have stayed as long as I did if it wasn’t for your constant support.

Courtesy of Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram

To Vera, Srija and Jarius, I can’t imagine my life without you three. All it took was one Collegian party and a Twitter DM to join the socials team, and I met some of my closest friends for life. Whether it’s listening to my complaints or laughing at all the random Facebook comments, you all mean so much to me and I’m so grateful for the time we spent together at UMass (even though you ditched me).

To Kami, my first friend here. The ‘Charlotte’ to my Phantom — working on our story about Michelle Wu, I knew I had met one of my best friends for life. From calls in London to surviving Louisiana, I don’t know what I’d do without you. You’re such a beautiful soul and every piece you’ve ever written has literally broken me, so trust that the world is not ready for you and your stories (and your challah).

To my lovely news team, here are my odes to you, even though I’m pretty sure I’ll be FaceTiming all of you in like an hour after this goes up.

Olivia Capriotti, you are my biggest source of inspiration and I wish I had even an ounce of your talent and intellect. My resident former STEM major, the passion and commitment you have towards your sources and the willingness to go all the way for your stories is something I truly admire, and I can’t wait to see you pioneer data visualization for the world, even if it’s through an MPH. I never knew I’d meet someone as brilliant and amazing as you, but I’m so glad you’re now trapped to be one of my besties for life.

They say you’re only as good as your last piece, and Grace Lee, you just keep getting better and better. Whether it’s heartbreaking poetry or earth-shattering news stories, the way you write just scratches that itch in my brain; I can’t believe I got to talk with either a future poet laureate or a Pulitzer Prize winner (or both!). The work that you put in for your writers and the way you advocate for yourself will never cease to amaze me. Thank you, Grace, for all that you do and for always being there for me.

Courtesy of Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram

Gail (or Abby Joyce), who would I be without you. The moment we covered that ASA vigil last year, I knew the future of the news section was safe. The time and effort you put into all your work is so incredible to watch, and I’ll never know how you just jump onto a random story and execute it flawlessly. Thank you for always going the extra mile and caring so much about your stories and your writers. I’m so glad we met, and I can’t wait to see how much you shine as a lawyer (just make sure you go to law school in Boston, thanks).

Daniel Frank, I don’t know what group is next on your hitlist, but I can’t wait to read your next exposé. As much as I love to infantilize you (you are literally 12, though), seeing the way you step up and work tirelessly is so amazing to watch. You’re going to do a fantastic job next year leading the news section and I’ll be ready for your texts about all your wild SGA encounters.

John Sebastian Underhill, you were so amazing leading the section this year and the writers and I can’t thank you enough for all your support. You really did transform the section for the better and went above and beyond to improve the way we produce news; I’m so in awe of how much responsibility you’ve taken on and how courageously you’ve stepped up to the plate. Whether it’s random Halloweekend encounters or Collegian gossip sessions, I’ll miss bantering with you and am so excited to see you take the journalism world by a storm.

And, finally, to the social justice and politics team, I’m going to miss leading the best beat this newspaper has ever seen, but I know you’re all in good hands for next year. Thank you, everyone, for constantly inspiring me and pushing me to do better. I see such a bright future ahead for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and you’re the reason I have so much faith in this newspaper.

Courtesy of Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram

I don’t know when I’ll ever write again, but trust that this won’t be the last you’ll see of me. Thank you to everyone in this newspaper for constantly believing in me and never once letting my spark die. It can get really hard writing about these topics, especially when we’re working with communities that have been misrepresented in the media for so long. There were times when it felt like a lot of this burden fell on me, but you have all shown me that you’re willing to take the steps and do the work to better report on our campus, and I can’t thank you enough for that.

So, MDC, as I leave with all my fantastic merch from over the years and some amazing memories, I can’t wait to keep tabs on everything that you do over the next few years. I may be gone for now, but I hope you know that you can always hit me up and start yapping away, no matter where I am or what I am doing.


Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram was an Assistant News Editor and can be reached at [email protected].

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