​PARTING SHOT: Making the right choice

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I have never known U.Va. without The Cavalier Daily. I emailed asking to join the copy editing staff in June of 2011, before I walked across my high school graduation stage or signed up for classes. I signed up again at the Activities Fair, and again at the Open House. In retrospect, Cavalier Daily recruitment might need some streamlining.

In my iCalendar — which I dutifully kept updated for approximately six weeks of my college career — I used to write at the end of each day one reason I was glad that day had happened. (It was a move I made to assuage the concerns that I would forever be that kid eating alone in Newcomb, or further that being that kid was indicative of my failure to meet the complex social demands of college). About one-third of my “Today I’m Glad I…” posts were about The Cavalier Daily:

Monday, Sept 5: “I moderately enjoyed my first Cav Daily shift. Yay for new people!”

Tuesday, Sept 6: “I did some extra CD editing.”

Thursday, Sept. 22: “I did a six-hour CD copy shift. …Need I say more?”

Monday, Sept. 26: “I deepened my infiltration into the Cav Daily staff.”

Thursday, Sept. 29: “I made nerdy friends. At the Cav Daily, naturally.”

Thursday, Oct. 6: “I had a fun copy editing shift. And packed for Fall Break!"

It is important to understand that The Cavalier Daily was running in some pretty steep competition for a spot on my list of reasons I was glad those days. Other entries include turning in my first college paper, going to a college party (“and only being 83 percent awkward”), and playing Sporcle with my friend from high school.

I joined The Cavalier Daily because I loved working on my high school paper, because I wanted to write but could not convince myself I was good enough to pursue it, and because a particularly exceptional assistant managing editor, Kat Raichlen, complimented my use of em-dashes and had also read John Green books. (Our friendship was a foregone conclusion.)

The past eight semesters afforded me an incredible number of opportunities — to speak with people I never thought I would, write articles about topics that mattered, pursue stories and ideas that were interesting and that people wanted to read. But none of those are why I am so indebted to The Cavalier Daily. I am indebted to this organization because it gave me a home.

It gave me a place where my voice mattered. It gave me a place where I was surrounded by people filled with seemingly impossible amounts of talent, intelligence, drive and compassion. It gave me a place to find love. And on more than a few nights, it offered me a place to sleep (to future staffers: I do not recommend it).

We like to tell ourselves on staff that we chose the hardest path we could have for college — surely running for the Honor Committee would offer more prestige and fewer sleepless nights. But even in asking ourselves why we signed up for the public ridicule of comment sections or the maddening deadlines of print publications, we know that we would have it no other way.

The Cavalier Daily staff has its flaws — I certainly carried my fair share of them as managing editor. We made, and will continue to make, more mistakes than we care to admit. And with a wide audience and open forum, we have to wear those mistakes with a level of publicity unfamiliar to most who are still navigating the waters of college. But despite our shortcomings, we are never want for passion. I loved walking into the office and being among a group of dedicated and talented peers — that’s what kept me coming back and what makes the thought of doing anything else seem laughable.

There are too many people to thank for my time on staff. In brief, thank you my fellow 125th Managing Board members, Rebecca, Peter, Katherine and Lianne, for caring about this paper as much as I did. Thank you to Julia and Kelly — I could not have asked for a stronger pair of individuals to work side-by-side with for the past year. Thank you Matt and Joe, even for the headaches. Thank you Michael, for trying to keep me grounded. Thank you Caroline for your guidance, for your idealism and for your friendship. And thank you high school me, for making the right choice.

Andrew Elliott was the 125th Managing Editor of The Cavalier Daily.

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