It was just a job.

My first Sunday afternoon on campus freshman year, most students were nursing their Welcome Week hangovers, while I found myself in an office filling out tax forms. I was about to assume a most-coveted position and become that girl who swipes cards at the CCRB entrance.

I got hooked up with other oh-so-glamorous duties, too – manning the equipment room, changing towels, cleaning mats and other things worthy of a paycheck.

My favorite times from the hours spent in those sweaty halls were when all my work was done for the day, and I could sneak away to an empty racquetball court with a copy of that day’s Daily. I’d sit on the ground, a dust mop next to me, and read the SportsMonday section cover to cover, learning all about Braylon Edwards and how fans should do “The Claw” on fourth down instead of “The Chop.”

Those Monday afternoons I spent among dust bunnies, hunched over a newspaper brought me to something that was going to be so much more than just a job.

It was going to become my life.

Sophomore year I finally got the guts to walk into the Student Publications Building and went home giddy, bragging to my roommates that I knew what would be on the front page the next day.

That novelty wore off fast, when sources didn’t call back, editors were tough and the real hard work set in. Pre-med students have their so-called “weeding” classes, but the entire Daily experience is a weeding process. Make it to the end, and you probably deserve a badge of honor. Instead, you get a goodbye column.

So that’s what I’m here to do: say farewell, look back on my three years at the Daily and impart some sort of wisdom as I do it.

I’ll gladly bid adieu to coming home to a pitch-black house way too late at night (which inevitably led to dozing off in class the next day). Lump that in with the ridiculous joke of a paycheck, an audience that is never pleased and computers that always seem to freeze just when you’re almost done with the page.

On the other hand, I’ll be sad to leave my co-workers who doubled as road-trip companions. I’ll miss the access to world-class athletes and coaches who were usually pretty fun to talk to.

And the whole writing about sports and having people read it thing? That’s not going to be easy to give up either, (even if most people did just rip out the crossword, toss the paper on the ground and leave a nice boot print on it afterward – yeah, I saw that).

These three years were always full of tough times, and, in the end, they were always worth it. The hockey knowledge I gained from talking to Michigan coach Red Berenson on a daily basis is something I consider priceless. Anytime I sat in on practice at Yost Ice Arena, I felt lucky. I had oddly parent-like proud moments when I saw a young writer or editor start to bloom into something more.

People talk about having moments in the press box where you smile and think about how happy you are to have this as your job.

It was never so for me. Like I said, it became my life. And I couldn’t be happier that it did.

As for wisdom, I don’t have much other than never to lose sight of that girl curled up in the corner of a racquetball court pouring over pages. That’s where my love for sports journalism lies, and I hope that after I graduate that reader still exists somewhere on campus – dedicated, listening, learning and always fascinated.

And hopefully, that person will know that working for the Daily could never be just a job.

– Colvin would like to thank all her past beatmates, the Entourage and the Buttercup, her family, the CCRB for employing her for four years and anyone who hires her in the future. She can be reached at ambermco@umich.edu.

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