The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

In search of a good lede

THERE I WAS huddled in my barren room, trembling - the loneliest and most forlorn first year at the University. My poor grades were falling, my roommate had moved out, my best friend was nowhere to be found, and I was depressed. But then one day I decided to get out of my room. And that day - the day I stepped into the basement of Newcomb Hall - I knew The Cavalier Daily would save my life.

This lead sounds good, but I don't think it's kitschy enough. We all know that fourth-year farewell messages are sentimental and meant to make readers shed warm tears. This piece should be no different. I must try again.

Charlene Yee was a housekeeper earning her keep scrubbing toilets, making beds and picking up after snooty conference attendees at a luxurious hotel in San Francisco. And I was a third-year student journalist with bold dreams to have my voice heard throughout the nation. Our lives crossed one day - three years after I stepped into The Cavalier Daily office - and after one conversation in broken Cantonese with her, I knew I wanted more than ever to be a journalist.

Better, but this lead doesn't tell readers of triumph over evil, and how one quiet girl from Northern Virginia tried to take The Cavalier Daily by storm. And failed miserably.

I tried out to be a columnist for the opinion page three times. I worked for five sections of the paper and found my niche in the one I had the least experience in. In my four years at The Cavalier Daily, I ran in only one Cavalier Daily election. I lost.

Someone once said mentioning your ethnic background would draw more people to your cause. Reading about how a member of the "model minority" struggled in the journalistic trenches and suffered grave injustices as a member of the media doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

Editors at The Cavalier Daily don't get asked if English was their first language. But this one did. This is also the same editor who was accepted by two of the top graduate journalism schools in the nation, was second in line for a science writing internship at The Los Angeles Times, and has written newspaper articles for the last eight years. But just in case you were wondering - no, English isn't my first language.

Perhaps this paragraph is too full of Asian-American angst, and a bit too arrogant to start off a fourth-year farewell piece. It might be better to assume a happier mood, and leave a palatable taste in our readers' mouths as they read this.

I looked all around for it. I looked in my room and rummaged through my books, e-mails and assorted papers. It wasn't there. I went to class and asked my professor if he had it. He didn't. I meandered through The Cavalier Daily and after four years of searching, I realized it wasn't there either. What was I looking for? Life's meaning.

This could be interesting. Continue.

People told me ever since I was a little kid that life's meaning lay in finding Jesus Christ. And for so many years I pursued Christianity blindly, without a thought. It wasn't until I arrived at the University that I studied, questioned, criticized and doubted the faith so many claimed gave them meaning in life. I talked to these people, asked them what drove them, why they professed Christ and not some other man, or some other philosophy. They told me about an overwhelming love, an unquenchable passion. They told me of a relationship that filled the gaping emptiness in their heart, that brought joy in periods of despair, that comforted them when they were inconsolable.

They told me about their lives. And it wasn't until a few months ago that I found what I was looking for.

Finally. Now we're getting somewhere.

(Juliana Chan was health & science editor and an opinion columnist.)