Courtesy of Kari Anderson.

My first main memory of The Daily was wonderful and completely unexpected. It was January 2020, and I had been accepted to Arts over Winter Break. The first meeting was during an all-day recruitment event for an organization I was in, and I got special permission to leave and go to my first Arts meeting. I was exhausted; I’d spent all day talking to strangers about things I didn’t care about, which is just about my worst-case scenario. But I arrived at 420 Maynard, walking tentatively up the stairs and into the newsroom, and felt comfortable immediately, as if I’d breathed a sigh of relief upon entering. I met new people, and we got into friendly discussions and arguments about films we’d seen or hadn’t, actors we loved or didn’t, directors we worshipped or despised. I was talking to strangers, but I wasn’t exhausted — I was invigorated.

It feels weird to say goodbye because it feels like I’ve barely spent any time here at all. I joined The Daily late (sophomore year) — in part because I didn’t have much time my first year, and also because I was scared to send in my application. It’s only been two years, but it’s been such a formative two years. I’ve (virtually) gone to major film festivals; I’ve gotten paid to write about Disney Channel Original Movies; I’ve made incredible friends in the midst of a years-long pandemic; and I have fallen in love with em dashes. I have learned so much here, and I am so grateful for it.

I want to say thank you to everyone who made me feel welcome at that first Arts meeting and to everyone who’s made my life better since.

Before I go further, I want to take a second to thank Sports, for being my initial entry point into The Daily. I covered two volleyball games and a gymnastics meet, but then the pandemic hit and I got into Arts, and my time kind of faded. Still, I just want to thank you for letting me be part of your section. I’m still on the listserv, and your emails are really fun to read.

To Julianna and John: Thanks for making Arts feel so wonderfully inclusive for my first year here. You were the first people who made me realize that Arts could be a family.

To all of my film writers: I love you all so much. Getting to meet you and read your work and watch you grow as people and get more comfortable sharing your impressively hot takes … well, it’s been an absolute honor. I knew surprisingly little about film when I sent in my application for Arts; you all have taught me everything I know, and I am eternally grateful for it.

A quick shoutout to Emma, because I just want to tell you how happy I am that you stuck around even after your SAE term ended. I’ve decided I’m going to be just like you this winter: sneaking onto the film couches, joining film hangouts and writing about whatever movie sounds like the most fun. Don’t worry, Film, you can’t get rid of me that fast.

To my fellow SAEs and Beat Editors: I can’t tell you how much I love hanging out with you. Thank you for putting up with my wacky schedule, and for not judging me when I have to show up 45 minutes late to production. For those of you who are graduating, it’s been a fun ride. And for those of you who aren’t, let me just say: I can’t wait to see what you do next.

To Zoe and Lizzie: My lovely MAEs, thank you for all that you did for me and for Arts as a whole.

Elise: You get your own paragraph because, if I’m being honest, thinking of Arts makes me think of you. You were the person who greeted me first when I showed up for that first meeting, and I stuck to your side the whole time. You were the person who accepted my application. (I reread it last year. It was pretty bad. But I’m glad you let me in anyway.) Thank you for encouraging me to go for editor, encouraging me to listen to Elliott Smith and encouraging me to push the Film beat to the next level. You always end these kinds of things with beautifully poignant lyrics or quotes, but I’m stuck with my own words, so here are the main ones: Thank you.

To Sabriya: You’re the best partner-in-crime I could ask for. I should’ve guessed it from the fact that our friendship started with a joint piece about ’90s teen rom-coms. You’re the best cheerleader ever — you taught me to react to text messages, because every good thing deserves a heart react, and every funny thing deserves a laugh react and every moment of deep understanding and agreement deserves some emphasis. I don’t think there’s been a day in the past two years where we haven’t texted at least once, but having you at the top of my contacts just feels right. Your passion and your joy are contagious; your determination and commitment is fricking admirable. I’m going to miss having an excuse to text you all the time. One more thing: I’m so excited to see you take on MAE next year. I’m so proud of you.

Finally, all of Arts: Thank you for making me a part of your family. My time with y’all has been about 50/50, virtual and in-person, but it doesn’t make it feel any less real. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.