The Cavalier Daily
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PARTING SHOT: You never know unless you try

<p>The leap of faith I took that snowy January day by submitting the application shaped me as a person, my time at the University and my outlook on the world.&nbsp;</p>

The leap of faith I took that snowy January day by submitting the application shaped me as a person, my time at the University and my outlook on the world. 

After arriving at the University in the fall of 2020, I watched The Cavalier Daily from afar, liking Instagram posts, reading news articles and lurking on X, formerly known as Twitter. I had been interested in journalism throughout highschool, but I never had the courage to get involved because of an irrational fear of failure. That all changed when spring rolled around, and I found myself increasingly enamored by the fast paced world of news reporting. Unable to resist my curiosity about journalism anymore, I gathered the courage to attend both info sessions.

Since attending those info sessions, I have taken numerous steps outside of my comfort zone — the first and most important when I applied to the News desk, second when I accepted the News Editor position and third when I ran for and accepted the Managing Editor position. 

As a news reporter, I learned how to ask questions about the world around me, as well as more information about the inner workings of the Honor Committee than I think I ever needed — or perhaps wanted — to know. As News Editor, I found my own voice, and learned how to listen and adapt on the fly. As Managing Editor, I learned how to work in a team and how to uplift the voices of those around me.

What I am about to say is not to discount these lessons and skills in any way, as they are incredibly valuable. But, most importantly, I learned that sometimes the most valuable step, and the most difficult, is the first one.  

This is not to say that everything falls into place after that first step. Rather, as my parents have always told me, life is a marathon, not a sprint. Serving as News Editor and Managing Editor was tough and the vast majority of the time it was not glamorous. I often found myself questioning my qualifications and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that the jobs entailed. 

When I was running for Managing Editor in the fall of 2022, Eva — then Editor-in-Chief — asked me what truth meant to me. She wasn’t looking for an answer but instead to encourage me to think deeply about the role this paper plays in the community and what my own inner drive was going to be in order to get through the year to come. I came to decide that truth is more substantial than a list of facts as they have been uncovered and presented. Rather, it is dynamic, ever-evolving and changing, and sharing that with my community became the driving force of my time on The Cavalier Daily.

When I questioned whether that first step I took by applying to be a news reporter was the right one, I thought back to Eva's question and my beliefs about the meaning of truth. I learned that as I served in different positions on The Cavalier Daily, I was leaving my community better than I found it, namely by sharing the truth to the best of my ability. Looking back on those moments of frustration and triumph, I can say that the reward for taking that first step of applying to The Cavalier Daily and sticking with it through the ups and downs was greater than I expected. 

Beyond the lessons I have learned about myself, journalism and the broader world, I count myself grateful every day for the passionate and driven community I found at The Cavalier Daily. My time at the University was shaped by these people who showed me grace and kindness and by those who had confidence in me, even when I struggled to have it in myself.

Nate — or should I say, Nathan — I hope you know that I admire your intelligence and kindness greatly. I am lucky enough to not only know you but also to call you a friend. APro, my confidant and closest of friends, thank you for standing by my side through it all. 

Ava and Eva, you were my biggest supporters from the beginning to the end and a large portion of the reason that I stuck with journalism. I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement, patience and faith in me. I look up to you both a great deal and am thankful to have had the opportunity to work alongside you.  

In full transparency, I am scared to leave these people, this place and this paper behind. The Cavalier Daily was a very large part of my daily life for three years and, even though my term ended months ago, leaving it behind feels like losing a safety net and a home. 

But looking back to the girl who applied for the News desk in 2021, I am so excited for everything that is in store for her and wish I could tell her just how worth it that step would be. The leap of faith I took that snowy January day by submitting the application shaped me as a person, my time at the University and my outlook on the world. 

I am proud of myself for taking that first leap in 2021 and finding my voice, and I’m proud of the people I was lucky enough to work with and the positive impact we had on the University community. The Cavalier Daily is a very special place, one that will always hold a dear place in my heart. I am beyond grateful to have helped tell the history of now, even if it was for just a short while. 

Now, as I stand on the precipice of another leap, I hope to embody that same faith. I may not know much about what the next few years, or even next few months hold. But what I do know is that as I prepare for this next big first step, Grounds is bathed in beautiful spring sun and I am incredibly excited to walk the Lawn one last time with my best friends.

With all of my love,

Lexi Baker was the Managing Editor for the 134th term and News Editor for the 133rd term.


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