It’s only been a year, but I can’t believe my Herald love affair is over.

I know as we propel forward to graduation and grow an inch more nostalgic with each passing day, sentimental opuses like this get old quickly, but when graduating from The Badger Herald, a reflection – albeit clich? – is necessary.

It seems weird now thinking back to the day I first set foot in the office junior year and how different it looks now. At the time, through my credulous eyes, all I saw were a bunch of hard-working college kids who seemed so comfortable in their surroundings compared to the throng of new, nervous writers who snaked throughout the office hallways. It amazed and intimidated me at the same time.

Now I see something completely different.

The Herald feels like home. Sure, most of the time the trash cans are overflowing, there may or may not be fruit flies swarming and chances are the chair you’re sitting in is broken or torn in some form, but it’s like a favorite old, smelly shoe you can’t part with. In all of its idiosyncrasies, the Herald is family. I know it’s been said before in saccharine columns just like this, but it’s true.

Heralders are an extraordinary pocket of wonderfully unique people, and they could not be more accepting of your oddities. I have truly never encountered anyone like the individuals who reside within the champagne-stained walls of 326 W. Gorham St., and I’m not sure if I ever will again. In the office all inhibitions are gone, you can be yourself and no one questions it. For that, I am eternally grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to be part of such a forgiving atmosphere every day.

It’s strange, but when things come to an end it’s the quirky things you remember.

When I went into the office this summer to help clean (yes, sometimes it’s trash-free) I found a note of encouragement left by the previous arts editor, Cailley Hammel. It was on a Post-it note stuck to the calendar with the words “Good luck!” scrawled across the month of June. As a continual affirmation of her confidence in us – Sarah and I – we kept the note and hung it in the arts corner.

Cailley used to intimidate me as a strong-willed, confident editor who could, and still can, cut through any hints of bullshit. A year ago she was drafting the same column I am writing to you now, after having spent five semesters occupying the arts corner, and everything she mentioned I now understand and cherish so much more after surviving the small taste of it I’ve been able to experience just in these past two semesters.

Cailley and her partner in crime, Tony Lewis, provided the perfect dream team arts mold for Sarah and I to fit into and shape to be our own, and without their support I don’t think two doe-eyed people like us could have carried on their initiated standard of success in the section.

But if Cailley is my mentor, my arts fairy godmother, then Sarah is surely my sidekick – my levelheaded confidant and instigator of many a gigglefest. I am continually stunned by Sarah’s maturity and talent, and I can only hope that some of her quiet boldness has rubbed off on me in some small way. I know that along with the incoming ArtsEtc. content editor, Lin Weeks, Sarah will continue the arts legacy and hopefully brandish the notion that her ethereal cuteness really does result from being biologically part bunny.

It was at a regular Sunday writers meeting when I first met Sarah. Her quietness annoyed me, and as a fellow introvert I didn’t appreciate her timid demeanor. She volunteered for an interview with Ben Folds and wrote down her story assignment on an old gum wrapper. I would soon find out (and later appreciate as a sign of her genius) that this is Sarah’s working methodology – to scribble notes on random torn pieces of paper and later forget about them.

But beyond the generations of dynamic arts duos and the fair share of lessons my co-editor has taught me, it’s the tenaciousness of the Herald news team that continues to surprise and inspire the inherent journalist in me with their unfaltering reporting skills.

Of course, the outstanding memory that fails to leave my mind is when the news team sang “Happy Birthday” to one of their fall associates, Gillian Losh. Echoing from the conference room and reverberating throughout the office all the way back to the arts corner on a September afternoon, their harmony sounded sweet as only something like that can. Welcome to the Herald family – it may be dysfunctional, but it’s loving.

When things like this end, it’s difficult to remember what you were like before it all began. From a bout with deranged David Archuleta fans, to now affectionately reflecting back on a year spent occupying my beloved spot in the arts corner, I can’t imagine this experience going any other way.

So, as I blast Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” through my ears, I keep my fingers crossed that David Archuleta will end his heinous music-making hiatus he’s been teasing us with and craft a graduation song. If he can deftly tackle Christmas tunes, then he can surely compose a graduation ditty.

But in all seriousness, I’m so excited for Sarah and Lin, and I can’t wait to see where the section goes next. Borrowing words from Billie Holiday, I’ll be seeing you.

Ann Rivall is a senior majoring in journalism. She hopes Sarah Witman will write this moment down in her journal of memories. Care to wax nostalgic with Ann and rock out to Vitamin C, or just want to bid her good riddance? E-mail her at [email protected]