Moving forward, reflecting on past

By BenitaZepeda

It’s hard to be a writer at a loss for words, especially while stuck in a bittersweet moment of facing the unknown. Nonetheless, that is who I am—a speechless college graduate waiting to be propelled into the real world as soon as I walk across the stage on May 15.

Though I can’t believe college is over, and I won’t walk into The Chronicle office every morning or pull my hair out around 8 p.m. on Friday production night while on the brink of a mental breakdown, I know it’s time to say goodbye.

So first, goodbye, Columbia. Transferring here gave me the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people whom I might have never crossed paths with otherwise. I appreciate all my teachers who pushed me to be the best I can and will miss the creative energy pulsating through these walls.

While I’m running the risk of oozing cliches, I will never forget the past three years, all the opportunities I’ve had, the mistakes I’ve fumbled my way through and accomplishments I didn’t think I was capable of. More importantly, I will always remember the people who have supported me, encouraged me and taken the same journey with me throughout the years.

To my mother and father: I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to express how thankful I am to have parents like you. I may not always show it, but I understand how much you have sacrificed in order to give me everything you could. I hope I continue to make you proud, just like I am of you. I love you. Here’s to the next chapter.

My family: Every single one of you has always been on my side and encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. I am, undoubtedly, the luckiest girl alive when it comes to you guys.

Chris Richert: How will I continue on without hearing you singing songs in your office behind me? I will never have another boss like you. You work so hard to ensure our happiness and well-being without asking for anything in return. For everything you have done for me, I appreciate it. Thank you so much for it. But I will forever give you s#!t for making me skip my “Wheel of Fortune” audition for a quick meeting.

Jeff Lyon: Your guidance through the journalistic storm each week has helped me grow as a writer and reporter tremendously. Thank you for advising our paper each and every week and understanding my (sometimes) graphic sense of humor.

My alien roommate: You’ve been pretty awesome the past year or so. Thank you for talking me down when stress seems to consume me, having contemplative conversations and never judging my weirdness. I’ve never gotten along with someone as well as I do with you, even when we’re playing Mario and I kill you.

Spencer, Stephanie and Ren: We made one hell of a team, that’s for sure. There are things that only we will understand and sharing this experience with you was amazing. I think we might need to meet at a bar occasionally and sit in a row editing papers (tequila Tuesdays or wine at Quartino?) This way I can fill the hole I’ll feel after The Cave is over.

To the Chronicle staff: Thank you for being part of this experience and making the paper better than ever before. You’re commitment is inspirational, and your drive encourages me to be a better journalist every day—not to mention how entertaining each of you are, especially at ICPA. It was nice to learn who was and wasn’t “rural.” Good luck to each and every one of you in the future—you deserve it.