When I signed up to become a news writer during The Cavalier Daily open house my first week at the University, I never imagined that I would one day join the Managing Board to become the executive editor, nor did I expect the substantial contribution it would make toward shaping me into the individual I am today. More than anything, my time with The Cavalier Daily paralleled a personal journey and discovery of how style truly affects meaning.
Upon joining The Cavalier Daily as a diffident, though eager, first-year student, I never dreamed that I would be crowned Earth Mama - the paper's prom queen equivalent - and join the likes of Katie Couric and Emily Poe. I never had prospects of ever becoming prom queen or being elected to homecoming court in high school. Rather, I had always been painfully shy, and a bit of a wallflower. The Earth Mama title meant more than a paper crown; it meant that I, for the first time in my life, had found a place in which I felt I truly belonged. I had finally discovered something I earnestly loved doing and made friends who shared my passions and who helped me shed my at-times timid demeanor. As with many staffers, the newspaper pushed me beyond my personal limits to explore what I was truly capable of, and helped me look within myself to find that which brought me immeasurable happiness and, most important, confidence.
Joining the newspaper staff undoubtedly was one of the best life decisions I have ever made. By the same token, it was equally painful to tear myself away once it came time to retire from an organization which provided me, and many others, with such an indescribably meaningful experience. I had been on The Cavalier Daily staff since my second week first year, so to be suddenly bereft of it felt odd and unsettling. My active involvement with the paper had always given me a sense of purpose and drive, so I felt utterly forlorn without it. Certainly, retirement, an extra couple dozen hours a week and being freed from the fetters of a deadline are grand, but there was still an overt void which I could never quite fill. Suffice it to say there is no feeling which can supplant that sense of sweet satisfaction of seeing the daily newspaper in the morning and asking for nothing in return for the long hours. It was then that I realized the truth in the wisdom of Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse": It is not the destination that matters, but rather the journey. My journey with The Cavalier Daily had ended when I hung up my editing hat, but that of continual self-discovery marches on.
My sentiments for The Cavalier Daily are truly akin to love. As someone who cannot love by halves, my heart swells with tenderness for this entity and the true friends I have acquired along this wholly magnificent voyage. Thank you to the 121st Cavalier Daily Managing Board for welcoming me aboard. Forsooth, not every day was a party, but I tip my hat to all of you - Ross Lawrence, Irene Kan, Bennett Sorbo, Bobby Laverty and David Rann - for being among the most brilliant and hardworking people I have ever worked with.
Amid countless, at-times soul-crushing hours, regarding the daily newsprint in all its glory in the physical form makes it all worthwhile somehow. The paper challenged me every day, and for that I am thankful. I have not forgotten those days in which I was merely a shy, seemingly insignificant news reporter in the office; those humble years bolstered my self-confidence by helping me find my voice - both in writing and in speech - and blossom as an individual.
Author Neil Gaiman once said, "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
Thanks to The Cavalier Daily experience, I think I have.