An unexpected pick-me-up from two years ago

One of the front covers of my college newspaper. Oh, that Donovan was always a troublemaker.

For whatever reason, I had an urge to dig up some of my old college newspapers columns this evening (here’s one!). They’re rather hard to find on the Internet, as the Daily Wildcat website keeps undergoing changes and futzing with the archive, but during my aimless search, I stumbled upon something that was written about me exactly two years ago today. The author, Ben, who worked with me at the school publication, had written a farewell blog post to me and fellow columnist Evan Lisull, as the two of us had just graduated college and were headed for new things. Evan’s immediate future was certain, but I didn’t quite know where I was headed:

I should have posted this a couple of weeks ago: Desert Lamp co-founder Evan Lisull and Daily Wildcat writer/editor and independent ‘blogger Laura Donovan took their bachelors’ degrees at the University of Arizona and will be moving on to bigger things.

Laura Donovan was one of the most capable people I’ve encountered on Wildcat staff in my seven years in town. No word on her future “plans” other than that the plan for now is no plan, aside from ending up in Washington DC in the fall. It should be interesting.

Best wishes to both of them in their future endeavors!

Last day at the Daily Wildcat
Last day at the Daily Wildcat, May 2010

Interesting, it has certainly been, not to mention far more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. The funny thing is, I kept my word and moved to D.C., even though very few people actually thought I’d follow through with that goal. Who could blame them? I wasn’t actively searching for work. I had some vague desire to relocate across the country to the east coast, having interned there one summer and thrived off the hustle and bustle, but could I actually make the big move? With the help of Anna Baker, to whom I’m eternally grateful, I did. Tucker Carlson was kind enough to offer me my first post-college position and allow me to joke around with his other employees all day every day. Things suddenly fell into place, but I got restless. Not with the Daily Caller, which is hands down the most fun office in the country (fully equipped with a bar, ping pong table, and keg), but with D.C. in general. The politics energized me, yet I felt too old and under-stimulated with the city, which felt very business-like and sterile. I didn’t love commuting among 45-year-old suit and tie folks every morning. I was always the youngest individual on the train. Some said this was admirable, as I had my life together for a 20-something, but I found it depressing. I wanted to be surrounded by every type of person, not just bureaucratic, disillusioned, serious men. There had to me more to a city than sanitized D.C. I could have hung around my cousin more, but in the long run, I just needed to be in New York, where my weird antics would be celebrated and, well, not so weird to anyone — at least in comparison to the others around.

Daily Wildcat bunch. Jazmine and Luke, never forget Spring 2010!
Daily Wildcat Awards Ceremony, spring 2010!

As much as I whine about NYC’s bipolar weather patterns and pathetic excuse for sunshine, I absolutely love living in a place in which couples can check

Laughing with Luke and Jazmine!
Laughing with Luke and Jazmine!

their teeth for food on a crowded subway home. Yes, I witnessed this happening the other night and it put a smile on my face. To an extent, I love some of the crazy people. The bars are incomparable and the subway was made for me. But thanks to my inherent need for excitement, I’ve held three full-time jobs since graduating college. For a two-year period, that is too many. I need  to settle down and fully establish myself at one place. I did that at the Daily Wildcat, where I worked for two and a half years, but I was also in college at the time and school was my big focus. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until the day I die: the Arizona Daily Wildcat was the most rewarding writing experience I have ever had, and that includes all the writing positions I’ve held since then. You know why? Because it was the first platform in which I could put my sole talent and love to good use. Up until college, I’d been filling journal after journal to practice, but I rarely embraced local writing opportunities, as they were few and far between and not for me. I also wasn’t courageous enough to stand my ground back then, but college proved to be a much better, more responsive, and more open environment for that. It wasn’t until I started working for the Wildcat that I truly believed I could make a career out of writing, and by the time I left, I knew I was incapable of doing anything else. I still feel that way and am insanely lucky to have remained in the profession after college. It means the world to me to have had the support and confidence of Ben, Evan, Justyn, Jazmine, Anna, Alex, Luke, Woodhams, Lance, Misha, and everybody else on staff. I wouldn’t have made it to New York without them. Thanks, guys. The Wildcat will always and forever have my whole heart.


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