The Cavalier Daily
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Achieving clarity up on a roof

ONE BY one, we climbed out the bathroom window and onto the roof.

From three stories up at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning, Rugby Road and Mad Bowl and everything else looked very small and insignificant. I put my drink down and leaned over in wonder. It was at that moment with those people up on the roof of my certain favorite fraternity that I realized what I would remember most when my time at Mr. Jefferson's University came to an end.

That night was almost two years ago, but the feeling hasn't left me. It's been especially persistent in the last few weeks, as I've gotten ready to walk the Lawn and take my degree with me.

The moments that seemed so small at the time now hold the deepest lessons of my time at the University. Of course I remember the big things, the banner headlines and the swanky events. But, as almost everyone eventually finds out, it's the little things that end up meaning more.

And it's the people who made all those little things possible that I will miss the most when I leave Charlottesville. They all made tremendous contributions to my life. I know I haven't thanked them enough, so I'll try to do it now.

My parents and my sister lovingly steered me in the right direction when I ventured off the proper path. They were both my harshest critics, when I deserved it, and my biggest fans. Their patience and unquestioning support carried me through the hardest times at the University.

An extremely well-dressed administrator and a mustachioed political pundit both showed me what a real dedication to students means.

A Civil War historian brightened my last semester with extraordinary teaching and concern for students, as well as an overwhelming acceptance of my scholastic efforts.

A true southern gentleman, complete with bow tie, amazed me with his patience and kept me sane, while teaching me an immeasurable amount about life, Lexington and the shady inner workings of the University.

On the first day of first year, I befriended the girl who lived in the room next door. A lot of things have changed since then, but for four years, I have been grateful for her support - even if I can't summon her by just banging on the wall anymore.

For a year, I led a staff of 10 fledgling reporters. Their triumphs showed me what it is to feel proud. My successors at The Cavalier Daily impress me more than I can say.

When I first stepped into the Cavalier Daily offices seven semesters ago, I didn't know what I would find. I walked away from the experience in the basement of Newcomb Hall with many things. My favorites include a red-headed mentor, a super-friendly movie fiend, an angry Asian, a highly opinionated former cheerleader, a partner in eyebrow waxing, and a boss who allowed me to throw pens and slam her office door in her face.

I also found an extremely courageous - and extremely crazy - girl from Queens who provided unforgettable lessons in overcoming adversity, as well as procrastination and daytime Corner Crawls.

The residents of 109 Clarke Court #304 - all the way at the end of JPA - have shown tremendous patience with my crazy schedule, less-than-stellar cleaning habits and hogging of the phone. I had the good fortune to meet one of my best friends and future roommates on a UTS bus during the first month of my University career. She has been there through the best and worst moments of my University experience, and I hope we have many more adventures together.

And finally, there were my cohorts up on that roof. It is from them that I learned the most.

An unnaturally thin frat boy taught me to loosen up, love life and call turkeys. A particularly gutsy young man - prone to shouting random things and listening to angry music - showed me how to make hard choices and devote yourself fully to something you love. An amazingly wise co-editor blew me away with her patience, her skill and her devotion. And a natural genius demanded a lot from me and gave back even more, as he taught me the most important lessons of my University career - about loyalty, perseverance and the true joy of unconditional friendship.

So, this is it. Somehow four years have felt like five minutes. I feel like I've learned a lot, both in and out of the classroom. (Thank goodness. This education was damn expensive.)

The most important thing I'll be taking away won't be something that was scrawled on a chalkboard or hidden in the pages of a textbook or lurking around some corner in the basement of Newcomb.

Instead, it's the amazing amount of friendship that I stumbled across. I hope I made all of you as happy as you made me. Thanks for the memories, the love and the laughter. I love you all.

(Margaret Chipowsky was a 2000-2001 News editor.)

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