Disclaimer: Please have your trusty box of Kleenex on standby. The contents of the column you are about to read are so absurd you will certainly be moved to tears of pain.

After a rather tumultuous semester of biweekly resignation threats, reneging on said quitting intentions and the consumption of upward of $30 nightly on fast food, 40-cent Diet Coke and handfuls of M&Ms (Damn you, office candy machine!), it's hard to believe my stay at The Badger Herald has reached its end.

To properly convey my glee about one final night of upholding Associated Press style/sadness over cleaning out my desk/bitterness at gaining approximately 27 pounds (again, candy machine, I'm looking at you), I wanted to find the perfect quote. And here's the best I could come up with. So, loyal readers, Herald staffers, man or woman who fills the candy machine, this one goes out to you:

"I will remember you/ Will you remember me?/ Don't let your life pass you by/ Weep not for the memories."

Just kidding. No offense to you, Sarah McLachlan. I love your work.

In all honesty, though, despite my best efforts to avoid writing the quintessential end-of-semester, "I'll miss the office, the experience, but most of all, I'll miss the people" column, I failed. No matter what angle I tried, everything ended up sounding all too much like an extended version of the worst high school yearbook quote known to humankind: "I always knew I'd look back on the hard times and laugh, I never knew the good times would make me cry."

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Even though I was somehow bestowed the "virtuous" ArtsEtc. editor title, and every living, breathing human in the office relishes in the glory of tagging me with the standard free-spirited hippie, artsy, "Chuck"-sporting stereotypes (guilty on that one), I've never been one for fuzzy feelings.

I avoid any discussion of emotions. Poetry is not something I enjoy. The rare hugs I dish out are moderately to highly awkward. Please bear with me as I attempt some warm fuzzies about a place that has become a significant part of my life over the past year–despite my insistence otherwise. This is going to be rough.

As graduation looms on the horizon and I look back on my time here at the Herald, any and all attempts to arrive at some grand, deeper meaning ultimately also swim their way back to the random, media-driven end of the prose pool.

If I am to condense my experience at this paper into a few key words of wisdom, I turn not to quotes from Einstein, Green Day or FDR, but from the odds and ends I'm exposed to on a daily basis.

"Lap dancers don't take checks"

That's good advice? Even more so, it's the ridiculous book with a creepy man in a suit and a scantily clad woman on it, currently cycled to the top of the heap of promotional materials swallowing the ArtsEtc. seating area. Most people love free shit — free food, clothes, concert tickets, CDs — but over the course of the year, I've grown increasingly wary of them. Last week alone, I received a myriad of random CDs, a free Matchbox yellow school bus, an eye mask and a copy of "What They Don't Teach You in College." This, of course, all sits atop my advanced copy of "Mr. Thundermug" and my "Disturbia" spy kit, complete with binoculars (well, until the copy chief stole them for who-knows-what unsavory purpose) and a reflector so I can keep an eye on the Riley's Wines of the World storeroom. If this experience has taught me anything, it's that if the only thing I can get for free comes in a box with Shia LaBeouf on the cover, I'd rather put in the effort to reap the grand rewards.

Cliché-inspiring translation: "Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets" — American proverb.

"I would never let a woman kick my ass. If she tried something, I'd be like, 'HEY! You get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!'"

Borderline (read: highly) inappropriate, but funny in the proper context, this is how I'd like to remember Herald humor. This one comes not from around the office, but rather from one Eric Cartman, "South Park" feminist.

"Go back to Cincinnati!"

The world is full of bold personalities and strangely, a high percentage of them wind up sitting behind the busted desks of The Badger Herald. The above nugget of wisdom serves as a perpetual reminder that people need to stand up for themselves, or risk humiliation, ridicule and a stress-relief ball to the face. This one-liner is the perfect retort in almost any social situation. Works best in baseball movie quote battles or as a means of telling people to leave your sight, without actually making them take it personally. For anyone who has ever spent extensive time traveling the state of Ohio, this can perhaps double for "Go to hell."

"Stop whining. You kids are soft. You lack discipline."

I believe Arnold sums it up best here as Detective John Kimball. This lovely dish ended up on many a prank office phone call, but it's probably the best lesson I've picked up this year. (That, or maybe there's no crying in newspapers.) I started the year as an intense whiner; I've ended the year as slightly less of whiner, but after this miniature newsie bootcamp, I'm slightly more prepared for the next step.

See? I told you, horrible with feelings. In any event, thanks for reading. To redeem myself in the cliché scheme of things, I turn to the punk gods Green Day when I say, "I hope you had the time of your life."

Ashley Voss is a senior majoring in journalism. If you are a potential employer and would like to take pity on her, please send any questions, comments or job offers to [email protected]