Thank you to The Prospector

Maria Esquinca, Managing Editor

Journalism was never my first option. My first dream was to be a doctor. I wanted to cure cancer and entered UTEP majoring in biology. I considered political science for a while, then I majored in creative writing. Finally, after fighting the cynic in my head, I settled on journalism. I thought it be a reasonable compromise.

It took me two years before I was given a chance by the newspaper. In fact, my very first published item in the newspaper was before I was hired, it was a Letter to Editor, that criticized the way women’s bodies were being objectified into shapes for the Fashion Issue.

I remember the first article I wrote, it was about a two-story commercial/residence building called The Mix. I interviewed the owner, Octavio Gomez, who also owns Crave and Independent Burger. I remember the feeling of glee. I remember those first sparks of  awe, to be listened to and to listen. I sat inside Village Inn, an uncertain girl, taking her first, precarious steps into writing. It took me hours to figure it out, to get it just right.

One year, and 70 articles later, I’m still unsure. Graduation looms over me like a giant, open-ended question, but I leave a better person, who has grown, but still yet has much to learn.

I will forever be thankful to The Prospector for all the invaluable lessons I have learned while working here. It made me disciplined. It allowed me to give a voice to the voiceless. It gave me the freedom to pursue stories that mattered to me. It taught me there are gatekeepers that hold the truth, and as journalists, we constantly have to fight for the truth. It taught me the importance of journalism, it gave me the reason and the means to write with purpose and meaning.

I have so many people to thank, some of them here, some of them gone.

I want to thank Jasmine Aguilera, for sitting with me and going through edits. For still taking the time to sit with me, when you visited El Paso, after you came back from your internship in Dallas. I’ve learned so much from you.

I want to thank Lorain Ambrocio for giving me a chance at The Prospector. It was your recommendation that got me in. Thank you for not censoring me while you were editor-In-chief. For the bountiful freedom you gave me to pursue stories that mattered to me, and for letting me voice my opinion through columns.

I want to thank Kathy, for her advice, patience and guidance.

I want to thank Vero and Isabel, for your charm and humor.

I want to thank Marcie, for laughing with me. For making my day a little better with your genuine and comforting “Hi’s.”

I want to thank David for taking the time to show me how Adobe Audition works, and for showing me all the cool little tricks you can do to get better audio.

I want to thank the advertising team for making the newspaper possible.

I want to thank the editorial team Luis, Jacobo, Javier, Michaela, Jose and Alonso, for sacrificing your Mondays for publication night. For leaving at night, tired and sleep deprived, after only the cats remain at UTEP, because we believe in the importance of the newspaper.

I want to thank my journalism professors and TA’s, Zita Arrocha, David Smith, Andrew Kennis, Lourdes Chacon, Luis Hernandez and Aaron Montes, because your lessons and wisdom bettered my writing and reporting.

I want to thank UTEP PR, for teaching me that there’s gatekeepers to the truth, and for giving me insight into the bureaucratic way in which institutions work.

I want to thank all the people I interviewed and who took the time to speak with me.

As I write my last column, I can’t help feeling perplexed by the odd juxtaposition of being surrounded by the familiar, yet looming over me is the finality of tonight. I leave, comforted by my memories and lessons I’ve learned, they will follow me forever.

Thank you Prospector.

Maria Esquinca may NOT be reached at [email protected]