I still remember the first time I ever came to the UA. It was for freshman orientation and my mother and I, being from Flagstaff, thought it would be easiest to get a hotel about a mile and a half from campus and commute by bike.
Memo to all incoming freshmen: That was a mistake. Air conditioning is your friend and Tucson is full of potholes.
Despite this rough start to my Wildcat career, those helter-sweltering days did teach me something. Coming from a high school with a graduating class of 30 to a freshman cohort of thousands, it was easy to feel lost in the crowd. It was clear that I was going to have to carve out a niche if I wanted to survive.
Then I started at the Daily Wildcat. That niche soon became a full-blown obsession.
Now, after two and a half years, more than 300 issues, countless cups of coffee, two interviews with presidents and four nights spent sleeping in the office, I stand at the cusp of departure. And, though journalists are supposed to avoid clichés whenever possible, parting is such sweet sorrow.
Granted, I’ll probably enjoy not spending five nights a week in the Park Student Union. My sleep schedule can finally begin to balance out now that I’m not working until midnight or 1 a.m. The Wildcat has always been a labor of love, and while it was hard to love the labor, I know I’m going to miss it.
I’ll miss the thrill of covering breaking news, the sense of pride that comes when you see someone pick up the paper you worked so hard to produce — even if it’s just for the crossword. I’ll miss working with reporters who struggle so mightily to finally put it all together. I’ll miss the breakneck pace, the hectic environment and the stressful deadlines.
Hey, I told you I was obsessed.
So, to sum this whole thing up, thanks. Thank you to everyone who slogged through my terrible copy when I was just starting out. Thank you to every photographer who made sure my story was on the front page, even when it didn’t deserve it. Thank you to all of the people I’ve interviewed for putting up with my rambling questions. Thank you to all of my teachers for begrudgingly letting me go to the office instead of to class. Thanks to all of our readers for your support. Thanks to the Wildcat for the experience, the memories, the camaraderie and the free coffee and printing.