Goodbye Column: Anushka Dakshit
Print Editorial Co-Director
CREDIT: Anushka Dakshit
My life in college really began when I joined Rowdy. Before then, I didn’t really live; I existed but didn’t live. My freshman year of college, I only talked to my high school best friend who’d make sure I was ok and visit my apartment to tell me stories about her nights out in Midtown. I didn’t have one lick of freedom or a sip of alcohol and spent every day either being late to class or watching hours of “The Office” in my dark bedroom.
Adjusting to college and all of the realizations that came with it made it hard to see myself as a part of the world, a constantly moving sphere where it seemed like everyone participated in society and was a part of something.
That slowly changed, and my something came along before my sophomore year of college, in the summer of 2020 when I applied for Rowdy.
The beginnings of my journey with Rowdy were on Zoom, and I met the people who first made me feel loved and a part of something in my childhood bedroom, a place where I historically had felt the opposite.
Ava Loomar, the print editorial director at the time, did the most amazing job of making me feel like I was worth something, like I was there for a reason, like I had a purpose with writing and this community wanted me to use it with them.
We had little Zoom socials and meetings that made me feel like I was finally a part of something, even if from the outside, it was me goofily smiling alone at my laptop.
I was able to write and learn from some of the best writers at UF’s journalism school; they loved and took me in, helped me grow and showed me how to shed my fears and heal through writing.
Without Rowdy, I wouldn’t be who I am, and boy am I happier to be who and where I am right now.
I want to thank my first editor-in-chief, Ana, for showing me how to run a magazine and for always making it possible for me to see that there was an opportunity and chance for me to be a part of something so great. Ana will forever be someone I look up to for her vigor and determination in an industry that can break you.
I want to thank Kalia, Jenna and Lauren, the editorial directors before me. Thank you Kalia and Jenna for teaching me everything I know about being an editorial director and for believing in me and my ability enough to give the position to me after you two left. I’ll forever cherish the hours-long print editing meetings I had with Kalia and Jenna, or online pitching meetings I had with Lauren. I am so thankful to have felt and been a part of the talent and love the three of them possess. Everything I have done during my time as editorial director and as a journalist and writer for other publications has been because of what I have learned from the three of them and Ava.
I want to thank my first editorial director Ava for making me feel like I was worth the opportunities that Rowdy offered. I happily cried after my first interview with Ava because she was so warm and open, asked me about myself with genuine interest, and made me feel like I was capable of being a part of a community of the most gifted and loving people. Ava taught me how to create that same sense of community and togetherness that I tried to emulate during my time as editorial director. My interview with Ava, a moment that would seemingly feel smaller to others, is one of the most memorable parts of my life. Thank you, Ava.
Most of all, I want to thank the little editorial team I got to work with during my time as editorial director. Kaylinn, I couldn’t do any of this without you. I’m above all so happy we got to celebrate our successes as print directors together. You’re the best friend and co-director I could have ever asked for during my time in this position and I’m so thankful to have had you so that we could cry, scream and laugh together when things got rough. Thank you to Macie and Lily for doing the same and for helping and supporting the two of us in making executive decisions. Thank you to each and every single print writer on staff, from when I first joined to now. The love and community you all have shown me has saved me and I cannot emphasize how grateful I am to have met and worked with you all and to have been the recipient of the talent and love each and every single one of you possesses.
I am so proud of the work that I have done with Rowdy, but I am prouder of the growth that I’ve had with it, as a writer and as a person. That would not have been possible without the community of people I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with during my time here. Out of all of my involvements in college, Rowdy is the one I spent the most time and effort on. Over the past two and a half years, I’ve seen Rowdy change and move from one staff to another and never let myself think about when I’d be a part of that cycle.
Now, I’m fully confident that it’s my time to go, but I’ll forever miss and hold close to my heart the compassion, community and healing Rowdy has given me. I’ll keep looking for it in other places as I go on through life, and hopefully I’ll find it. At least I’ve had it with Rowdy.