I hate good-bys.
More than almost anything else, I hate admitting that a part of my life is coming to an end.
A bit melodramatic, perhaps, but I'm a sap at heart.
Today marks the end of my career at the Arizona Daily Wildcat, a place that has provided the framework for my life for almost three years. I cannot imagine being on campus without being magnetically pulled downstairs to the Student Union basement, to the newsroom.
I understand the need, practically and emotionally, to move on. I understand that life does not stand still and wait for us to catch up. If life waited until we were ready, nothing would ever happen because there is no perfect time. It doesn't exist.
Instead, we set ourselves artificial deadlines, like graduation, to end one phase and start another. May 13 is not just a day where I put on a goofy-looking cap and gown, it's supposed to be the day I'm officially an adult.
That won't happen in a day's time.
There is a difference between being an adult, and being a grown-up. When little kids say, "Are you a grown-up?" I'm always stuck for an answer. Yes, I understand responsibility and the need for maturity, but I never want to be totally grown up.
But college life will be over in a matter of days, and it's on to the real world. It's hard to encapsulate five long years of change and constancy in a few paragraphs, and even more difficult to accurately assess an experience while being so close to it.
Maybe in ten years I'll be able to look back and say, "That was the defining moment for me," or "What the hell was I thinking when I said I wanted to do this for the rest of my life?" But for now, it's just a matter of saying good-bye.
I know I'll miss the Wildcat in ways I don't even see yet, and not miss some things I thought were irreplaceable. I will miss walking into the busy newsroom, watching everyone working and goofing off.
I'll miss seeing how a group of strangers interact on a daily basis, until everyone knows everyone else's idiosyncrasies. I'll miss the friends I've made here, and the friends I've lost. Friendships work in strange ways, and sometimes they stop working. That too, will be hard to leave, the finality of it all.
I have to admit that I've enjoyed taking on the administration, and I hope it has some effect. No administrator has the right to try to intimidate any student, even if they work on the newspaper.
While I have received phone calls and letters commending my columns and work at the Wildcat, and I appreciate it more than I can say, an editor in chief cannot do it alone.
The real thanks should go to the Wildcat staff of reporters, editors, photographers, designers and copy editors. Without everyone's help, the paper would never hit the stands.
I also need to thank the ad department, the typesetters and the administrative staff of Student Publications. It sometimes seems like the newsroom is its own entity, but we're only part of the operation.
I cry at almost anything, and saying good-bye is the hardest thing in the world. I remember watching "Snoopy Come Home" when I was little, and just sobbing forever. I know life goes on, but figuring out where it is going is the scary part.
This university is too focused on research, but there are wonderful professors here, and some have had a direct impact: Jack Marietta, Kevin Gosner, Karen Anderson, Donald McCarthy, Bill Greer, Jim Johnson, Don Carson, Jim Patten, Chris Jesperson, Anoop Chandola, to name just a few.
It's time for me to clean off my desk and pack up my crayons, pictures, Associated Press Stylebooks and Rolodex.
There is no real way for me to say thank you to the Wildcat staff for everyone's hard work. For once, I can't find the words to say what I mean. To say that I appreciate all the dedication is not enough, but that will have to do.
Saying good-bye to the Wildcat and its staff is not just a matter of leaving a place of employment. I'm leaving a job, friends, and a life. I can't think of anything that can replace it.
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