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Shutting the door with pride


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Arizona Daily Wildcat

David J. Cieslak

By David J. Cieslak
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 8, 1999
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There're those times in life when one is so happy, but so hurt at the same time. Your face smiles while your heart breaks. You're freeing yourself of an enormous burden, but the weight on your shoulders is heavier than ever. It's a horrible feeling, and it's ripping me in half.

Today is my last day at the Arizona Daily Wildcat. After starting here nearly two years ago as a news reporter and finishing as editor in chief, I've decided to call it quits.

But it's not quite that easy. I'm not going to take my gold-plated watch, clean out my desk and walk out the door without a care in the world.

Trouble is, the Wildcat is not like your average job. The newsroom requires you to work insane hours for pennies, agree to get lower grades than you should because you blow off classes for work and essentially give up your life.

It's eating greasy student union food, being exhausted every day and experiencing a constant feeling of worry that I screwed something up and, in turn, screwed over our readers.

But the product we churn out every day -Øa paper that countless people in Arizona Student Media spend hours putting together - is something that makes me proud, something that's worth all the worry and headaches in the world.

It's a paper filled with the blood, sweat and tears of so many hard-working students and professionals who make a commitment to excellence on a daily basis.

The Wildcat is an institution at this university, a part of this community that will never die. It offers the UA student body their news every morning and gives the paper's employees something to be proud of when they go home every night.

This newspaper has given me more than I ever gave back. It ended my inane routine of going to school and going home. It gave a purpose to my existence at the University of Arizona. It acted as a home away from home. More importantly, however, it gave me a group of people who have become very important to me.

I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with them. I get drunk with them. I stay up all night with them, talking about nothing. When personal problems overcame me, I cried on the shoulder of a friend who I met thanks to the Wildcat. These are the people who have gotten me through hard times, and being near them keeps my sanity intact.

Sometimes, I pretend I'm asleep on my couch. I put a newspaper over my head, and I hear people talking. I listen -Øintently - to the conversations, to the voices, to my co-workers, to my friends.

I listen to the sports desk debate things I know nothing about. I listen to the news desk's excitement about nailing down our top story.

I listen to the tones of their voices, their thoughts, their enterprising ideas and their ridiculous schemes for yet another practical joke.

The flow of conversation is endless in this pit. But the voices provide so much comfort.

And I remember how much these people -Ømy second family -Ømean to me.

I watch as Tate Williams, one of my closest friends and the Wildcat's next editor in chief, paces through the newsroom supervising his staff. It's a nice feeling -Øone I hope everyone experiences at some point -Øto know that your successor will carry on an important legacy and do a better job than you did.

In retrospect, I firmly believe this is one of the best experiences I'll ever have in my lifetime. From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone who made that possible.

It is with an ultimate sense of pride that I welcome Tate to his new position and say goodbye to my home away from home.

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