The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

PARTING SHOT: A love letter to Cav Daily and Connection

<p>It all started with nothing more than a camera and a dream.</p>

It all started with nothing more than a camera and a dream.

It all started with nothing more than a camera and a dream. I arrived on Grounds in 2020 starry-eyed with one goal in mind — making connections in a time full of distance. I had been a photographer for my high school newspaper, so when I saw that The Cavalier Daily had a photo desk, I thought it seemed like a good fit. What I didn’t know was how much I would learn from my time on The Cavalier Daily — it would have a drastic impact in developing my leadership skills and changing the way that I view the little moments of life. What I didn’t know was how quickly a group of people could go from strangers to best friends, much less how these people would come to feel like home. 

As a former Operations Manager, Assistant Operations Manager and photo editor, I’ve learned how to lead teams, send off print editions at 2 a.m., edit social media captions, onboard over 250 staffers and more, and yet I still have literally no idea how to structure an article. So, here — in place of trying to do some background or find 3 sources — I’ll leave you with some thoughts, some things I’ll take with me beyond my journalism career.  

The Cavalier Daily teaches you a lot of things, like how many bags of Chex Mix you can finish during print night or how much anger one can feel when building a Notion page. But most of all it taught me about the importance of connection. There are few feelings like walking out onto the packed court at JPJ and smiling at your fellow media friends, all while knowing you might witness history as a player takes the court for the first time. It’s even more fun getting to sit next to your photography mentors as you share the joy of the game. It’s one thing to know that Final Exercises happen, but it’s another to photograph the graduates walking down the Lawn. It’s devastating to be at a school that faces a gun violence tragedy, but watching roommates hold hands and teammates hug each other at vigils as flowers and murals and posters appear around Grounds restores one’s faith in the community. 

My time here taught me to look for the genuine, human connection in every moment, and I truly believe I will carry that with me for many years to come. I hope I can encourage everyone at the paper and in the community to look for those little moments of connection too. Look for the moments in your everyday life that make being alive — being human -– special. 

Never take an opportunity for granted, and never forget the people who helped you get there. And speaking of connection with some special people, I would be remiss not to mention the people who helped me get here. 

MacBlane, I am so lucky to have led with and learned so much from you. There’s no one I would rather share a first and middle name with. Here’s to many more fire nights and Diet Cokes in our future. 

Lexi, I’m so glad we got past the “news editor and photo editor who never speak to each other” phase. Knowing you — and shooting looks over Mac’s head with you — is a gift.

Charlie, my Block 1 king, it’s been an honor getting to know you and see you grow. I can’t wait to see all you do. 

Nate, Honor, Grace and Naima, you all are an incredible team, and I know that you will lead The Cavalier Daily to great places. I’m so thankful for all of our chaotic transition meetings, lawn room interactions and all the laughs, and I wish you all the best. 

Khuyen, Torchy’s queso soon? Eva, thanks for getting me addicted to Diet Coke, you rock. Ankit, you slay. And Ethan, I’m so glad I got to witness your enlightenment on long exposures.

To everyone I’ve ever worked with on an Operations desk, thank you for putting up with my constant chaotic yapping, my inability to sit still and my obsession with Liquid Death. I quite literally wouldn’t be where I am without you all, especially those who endured late nights assembling print editions with me the last few years. While I’m glad I’ll never have to choose a cover font again, I miss it already. 

I am so proud of everything the 134th Managing Board accomplished, but I am even more proud of the connections built by everyone from individual staffers to the Editor-in-Chief. I still smile when I walk past Newcomb and see Life desk writers gathered together, happily working through new content. I still see friends I met on the paper out together at bars. I still lurk in the photo Slack channel for the 135th term, and it warms my heart to see the photographers I onboarded years ago leading the section and giving new gig opportunities to staffers that maybe one day, they’ll repay in turn. So with all that, here’s one last thank you Cav Daily. Apro out!

Ava Proehl was the Operations Manager for the 134th term of The Cavalier Daily, Assistant Operations Manager for the 133rd term and Photo Editor for the 133rd and 132nd terms of The Cavalier Daily.

Comments

Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.