PARTING SHOT: A permanent record


The cursor is blinking on my blank Google Doc and I am completely terrified to write this Parting Shot. For one, it is the first and last thing that I personally write that will get published in The Cavalier Daily — the only permanent record of my time on the paper. And two, it is my last to-do at the place where I have given my heart and soul during college.

For the past four years, I have been living an oxymoron. I am an aerospace engineer on the student newspaper. I do not enjoy writing and, save a few horrific and heavily-edited sports articles, I have spared the readers from my writing. Instead I got to take a break from 3D airplane renderings and fluid dynamic problem sets to design 2D newspaper pages, fix technology in the bleak basement of Newcomb, manage editors’ email accounts and send pages to the printer at 2 a.m.

The papers that I designed as a “proddie” and production editor are definitely already forgotten and thrown away. As Operations Manager, I tried to bring the paper into the 21st century with Google Docs and cloud storage, I helped redesign the tabloid newspaper and I led the creation of the mobile app. Yet, with the rate of technological advancements these days, within two years cloud storage will have evolved, there won’t be a print paper and something will have replaced smart phones, making the app irrelevant. So this parting shot, which I am writing instead of sizing the ailerons on the drone for my thesis, is going to be my permanent record of being on The Cavalier Daily.

But this describes every student’s part at the University. We are here for four years and then we are remembered for another three years by those still here, if we are lucky. It’s the transient lives we touch and the memories we make while we are here that live on forever.

I would be lying if I said my part in The Cavalier Daily family will not affect my future as a person. It’s this family that sees me at 2 a.m. with smeared makeup, yelling at people to finish the pages and about to cry because InDesign crashed, but still gets coffee with me in the morning and gossips about University “celebrities.” Only my work wife understands my diet of cereal, oatmeal and fruit, and my prod sisters share my addiction to coffee.

The sleep schedule of the operations manager (2 a.m. to 6 a.m.) most likely took years off my life, but it taught me how to prioritize my work. I may not be fixing computers or organizing newspaper pages at Boeing, but being Operations Manager taught me how to run a business from the back end. But most of all, my CD family taught me to open my heart and be a friend. My moments with them are as embarrassing as going through puberty, yet they still surprise me on my birthday, have brunch with me on Sundays and listen to me complain about my UAV that doesn’t fly.

I was going to photoshop a picture for my parting shot, but a picture is worth 1000 words and my word limit was 800. Hopefully these 572 words suffice as my permanent record on the paper, because no matter how hard I scrub, The Cavalier Daily has a permanent record in my heart.

Meghan Luff was the 123rd Production Editor and 124th Operations Manager of The Cavalier Daily

Published April 10, 2014 in Opinion

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