For my love of trashy romances, my inclination to cry over a sad song or great ending to a book, and my affinity for handwritten cards and thank-you notes, some might call me sentimental. But these saccharine tendencies end where my pen hits paper. I’ve always had an irrational fear of my own words — having my own thoughts, feelings and ideas written out actually terrifies me. This is why I spent four years on The Cavalier Daily staff in news writing and editing positions: no feelings, just objective, hardcore (okay, sometimes soft-core) journalism. Of the hundreds of articles I have written for this paper, not a word has been about myself. But, in keeping with tradition, I must write a parting shot. An ultimate goodbye column highlighting what I’ve learned from being a part of this organization over the past four years. I abandoned my first draft in favor of what I hope to be a slightly more enjoyable read for whatever miniscule audience will actually read this (I’m looking at you, other has-beens). I’d like to write a simple thank-you note. Sorry this one isn’t handwritten, but here it is. Dear The Cavalier Daily, Thank you for the dull, mind-numbing news stories. The local elections, Honor Committee meetings and talks in the Special Collections library by obscure visiting professors. You taught me valuable skills and gave me a solid foundation in basic journalism techniques. Thank you for the stories that were so dry I couldn’t screw them up. Without them, I would never have gained the confidence to tackle every challenge this paper would throw at me over the next four years. Thank you for not ever instituting a swear jar, or even worse, a complaints jar. If you had, my checking account would have been overdrawn even more than it already was during my time on staff (cue my infamous email to Prod, asking them to deposit my allowance). I hope you know that my complaints were a defense — to justify the lack of sleep, lack of a social life and lack of sanity that came with taking on a very serious role at this this paper. These sacrifices were worth it, a thousand times over, and I wouldn’t trade one f****** second. Thank you for always being there, with a cup of coffee and a sharing-sized bag of M&Ms. My waistline and my dentist may not thank you, but then again, they weren’t the ones trying to write a midterm paper, memorize Spanish vocabulary words and plan Big Sis week while simultaneously editing yet another article on the new StudCo resolution. Thank you for, on occasion, transforming that coffee into something a bit stronger. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with some of the smartest, funniest, best people I have ever known. And for those people to not just be my co-workers, but some of my closest friends. When I built up the confidence to share an opinion, you took me seriously. You had my back when I wore myself a little (or a lot) too thin. You didn’t hold it against me for making mistakes along the way, perhaps because you knew I had already too-harshly judged myself. Thank you for forgiving me when I made the wrong choices, and allowing me countless chances to get it right. Over the course of a year which pushed all of us to our physical, mental and emotional limits, thank you for reminding me that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, thank you, The Cavalier Daily, for being there with something new and interesting to inspire me every day. You continue to amaze me with stellar content written by the best staff of any college newspaper, hands down. I am humbled and forever thankful for the fleeting time I was able to spend crafting the literal and figurative pages of this organization. You made me a better person, and you will always hold a special place in my heart. Love, Kelly Kelly Kaler was the 125th Assistant Managing Editor of The Cavalier Daily.