On a particularly bad day my first year, I wrote down the following quote — “I don’t belong here. I don’t fit in.” In all honesty, I was being a bit dramatic, but I was just young and sad so save the judgment please! When I first came to the University four years ago, thoughts of loneliness filled my mind constantly — they often dominated the beginning of my time at the University. I don’t often admit this to most people, but I struggled a lot early on — I came to U.Va. alone, and it seemed like everyone else was able to find their people so much more easily than I was. I spent many days wondering if I made the right decision in coming here — over 700 miles from where I grew up — but as I reflect now on my college experience, I know that I absolutely made the right decision. That’s where The Cavalier Daily comes in.
I joined The Cavalier Daily on a whim — I was involved in my high school’s newspaper, but I had no intention of bringing that into my college experience. In reality, I was just looking for a way to meet new people and immerse myself in the University’s extracurricular culture. Looking back on it, I don’t think I ever could have guessed just how important walking into that first info session in Wilson Hall in 2018 would be to me. Maybe I’m being dramatic again, but that hour I spent on some random Tuesday night would become the most meaningful hour of my time at the University.
It’s hard to explain what my time on this paper meant to me and to my college experience. I definitely complained a lot — the work was hard and tiring, and it seemed like the only payoff was a bunch of hateful comments on Facebook. I say “it seemed” because as I near the end of my time here, I’ve realized that it wasn’t really about the work at all — it was about the people. My time with The Cavalier Daily was really about finally finding my family on Grounds, and realizing that I was not alone.
As parting shots often offer advice, I’ll say this for those still on The Cavalier Daily — do everything you can to enjoy the time you have left at the University and on The Cavalier Daily. It’s cliche, I know, but it’s also incredibly true that this experience will be over in the blink of an eye. I know that it can feel completely overwhelming at times, but find time to spend with one another outside of a strictly work setting. At the end of the day, I’m not going to remember exactly what we wrote in every editorial, but I’ll remember the laughs we shared at every meeting and the trips to Cohn’s on print nights that really hurt my bank account. A lot of you all only have a year left at the University and on The Cavalier Daily — don’t let it fly by without stopping to appreciate those around you. The people around you may be your colleagues, but they’re also your friends.
To the people who put up with me and my antics throughout my time on The Cavalier Daily — thank you for giving me a home at this school. Thank you for surrounding me with a family at a time when I didn’t think I’d ever find one at this school. Thank you for dragging me out of the shell I put myself in my first year and making me feel loved. You were all there for me at a time when I really needed it — whether you knew it or not.
This is the last paragraph I’ll ever write for The Cavalier Daily. After four years, 63 columns, two crossword puzzles and countless new friends, my time has come to an end. I write this final column with nothing but absolute love for this paper and every single person I’ve met through it. To the 131st and 132nd terms, thank you for bringing me to life. To the 133rd term — I’m sure you’ll be fine. But I’m not in your shoes anymore so that is not my problem! Love you all, and talk soon.