The hammer rarely comes down

Dear The Signal,

After two-and-a-half, love-filled years, I think it’s time for us to part ways. This isn’t to say that I don’t love and admire you as a newspaper; this is more of a statement that this relationship feels “fundamentally wrong” and I think we’re holding each other back from our respective lives.

Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I know this is hard. But, I’ve disregarded my schoolwork, friends, jobs, personal hygiene, sanity and life for you these past years. You have been my entire college experience – my home, even.

These past years have been consumed more with your petty issues than my own problems. I know more about layout and AP Style than I do about half the stuff I’ve learned in my major. I’ve slept on your dirty couch far more often than I’ve slept on my bed. You’ve forced me to stay up until 7:47 a.m. on days when I had class at 8 a.m. I’ve gotten kidney infections, migraines and nausea all in your sick honor. And all you give back to me are a bunch of angry students and professors harassing me daily: “Why’d you guys run that?”; “I found that totally offensive”; “The Signal disgusts me.”

Well, I’m done with it and I’m done with you. Yes, I’m going to have a hard time trying to figure out what to do with my time. I heard that I can watch “24” on Monday nights and from what I’ve been told, it’s a good show. Maybe I’ll get a hobby – take up knitting, paint some more, watch some movies, go for long walks on the beach, etc.

You’ve given me insomnia, a fear to walk this campus, a disillusionment only you are capable of providing. But, you’ve also given me a chance to be more proud of anything and more proud of myself than I ever have been before and hope I might be again.

Sure, you’ve taught me a lot. I know how to devote myself to something I love . enough to ignore my own good. I know InDesign better than I know the woman who birthed me. I know what the words “media ethics” mean and I understand what they mean to me. I know the best ways to pull three straight all-nighters. I know how to fix pages, cheat to make text line up, copy edit (kinda), edit stories, make bad stories readable, deal with writers, do layout while on muscle relaxers, take terrible pictures, take a punch, leave a conference in a stylish manner, make the best iced coffee in the history of mankind, make everyone think I’m having an illicit lesbian affair, sleep on a desk, write a story in 15 minutes, write a paper in 20 minutes, make a cutout, fix a spread, etc.

Whether or not the campus community believes this or cares at all, you have taught me how to put out (the news) and how to do it respectfully, tastefully and honestly.

Most importantly, dear, sweet, sassy Signal, you’ve taught me that the hammer rarely comes down. But, alas, I’ve also learned that when the hammer does come down, it comes down hard.

We’ve had our times, sweet Signal. I’ve laughed and cried on production nights. I’ve been criticized (often) and praised (seldom). But that comes with the territory. I’ve both fallen in love and had my journalistic heart broken within your pastel-painted walls.

So, Signal, I’ll be the first to say, “It’s been real.” But, I need to get back to my life and you need to move on to your new staff.

I’ll never feel for anything, anyone, the way I feel for you. Yes, there were nights when I questioned whether or not my sacrifices were worth it. Looking back, I know they were. Every damn minute I spent with you was worth more than anything else I’ve done here. The people you’ve introduced me to will remain infamous every time I remember a production night and will always epitomize the College to me.

I’ve spent the best and worst nights of my college career in the nasty basement office and I don’t believe I would have ever wanted to spend them anywhere else.

I hope I’m remembered fondly by your future staffs and I hope I’ve had half the lasting effect on you that you’ve had on me.

Adieu, my love. I’ll think of you every coffee, cigarette and newspaper Sunday morning for the rest of my life.

Oh, and, give me back my black T-shirt.