The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Four years of memories

FOR A LONG time now I've wondered what it is going to look like when I head up to the top step of the Rotunda and set off on my last walk down the Lawn as an undergraduate. I'm somewhat of a worrisome person by nature, and so I've already pictured the entire event in my head a hundred times over. Hopefully it'll be like some cheesy '80s movie ending where all the pieces suddenly fall into place and I'm not left with anymore questions or uncertainties.

As I picture it, I'll have a copy of this issue of The Cavalier Daily in my pocket as I make that last walk. Not only will the comics page provide its usual distraction in case some of the speeches get a bit tedious, but I'll also carry this paper as a reminder of where I've come and where I want to go.

To be honest, I originally didn't want to have anything to do with journalism. I remember my mom and I got into a huge fight when I was in high school because she wanted me to take journalism, and I wanted to take some new easy cooking class that was being offered that semester. We fought, mom won, I took journalism, and I realized I actually liked it. So when I came to U.Va. and was looking for something to do, I decided to get involved in The Cavalier Daily. I wrote my first story about a heating unit in Brown College that blew up and roasted a pet turtle alive while its owner was on fall break. That story about Ronin the turtle began a fantastic four-year career at The Cavalier Daily, and in that time I've realized that I actually love journalism.

As I walk down the Lawn, I'll be thinking of that turtle story and that argument I had with my mom. Four years ago I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn't in the A-School or Comm School, I wasn't on track for any particular job or career. But now I found something that I love doing. I plan on making my living by informing others about the world and people and stories in it. I worried about what I wanted to do a lot, but I guess it's true that life has a way of working itself out. A friend of mine recently gave me a quote that I think I'll remember as I walk down the Lawn. It reads, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." That's good advice, advice that I think more people need to hear.

So I'll step off for my final walk as an undergraduate. In my mind I'm in the center of an enormous crowd of people who have made my life here so amazing. I'll be walking with Amanda, Pat, Adam, Holman, Fitz, Kym, Colin and too many others to name or even begin to count. Instead of places I'll see memories. I'll walk past the column I sat against as I read aloud from my favorite book one cold fall night. The Lawn will be crowded and alive, and I'll suddenly remember the nights that it was the quietest and most still.

In my mind it'll be a long walk, where I'll see my family and they'll know how thankful I am for all their love and support. I'll see my adopted grandmother, who has taught me that friendship is not something that can be restricted by age or generations.

That's how it looks in my mind, but you know what, it probably won't be that way when it actually happens. It'll probably be over in a flash just like these four years at Virginia have passed by in a flash. It may not be exactly like that cheesy '80s movie; I may be left with some questions still unanswered. But I guess that's OK. I won't worry about that today. No matter what it looks like on Sunday, I know I'm always going to remember this last walk as an undergraduate.

(John McArdle was a 2002 focus editor and a 2001 associate news editor.)


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