Last Hurrah – UCSD Guardian Senior Sendoffs

Simone Wilson – Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Hiatus Editor, Designer

Half a decade ago, on Wednesday of Week 10, I was already dreaming of this day: The Last Production. Outgoing Guardian pillars like Grant, Vlad, Ian and Cody — gods in my eyes — were drowning their seniorities in some Arrogant Bastard while I sat miserable in my fugly attempt at a Summer Movie Preview design. I bushwhacked blind through a first-ever round of edits; meanwhile, then-Hiatus Editor Cody blasted SoCal pop-punk (the Bouncing Soles, who still hold a special place in my iPod) and proceeded to get so sloshed he barely got his album review in before dusk.

My only consolation was that, one day, it would be me in the party hat.

It’s tradition: The restless crew of outgoing seniors is supposed to get drunk and stumble around the office the last day, jeering the incoming editors until they regret the day they decided to apply. I wish I could sit back and savor their pain with some fine boxed wine. But my state of sober (sort of) stress today is a testament to the over-involved, often psycho grip with which I run the Guardian. For the good of everyone, it’s my time to move on.

All through Fall Quarter, there was a knot of worry in my gut that UCSD’s official newspaper wouldn’t be equipped to uphold its history of greatness next year. About one month after meeting incumbent Editor in Chief Angela Chen, though, it had disappeared completely. Angela: Because of you, I will be able to take on my future without looking back with fear or regret. You never deserved an eye-roll— not even once. You’re the most open, honest learner I’ve encountered at this school; you listen, you’re never overconfident or defensive, and you ask questions. For that, you will be rewarded with skill. Guaranteed. Keep keeping it real, and come 2013, you too could be spraying Four Loko off the hood of your Corolla in the 7-11 parking lot.

To the rest of the incomers: Your work this quarter has surpassed my wildest expectations. Hayley: You’re the strongest writer on staff. Read more Esquire, and you’ll be downright bomb. Arielle: You’re an angel, and you know your shit. Keep my baby classy. Neda: Focus, but never let go of Hiatus — it suits you. Cheryl: You’re the glue, and that’s everything. Take more photos, but demand more massages. Regina: You surprise me every day. Keep it up. Liam: You’re my favorite. Especially for standing up to us when we’re assholes. Masha: I never thought strict could be so sweet. Enforce the schedule like I never could. Melody: Have fun with that shit. I secretly want your job. Trevor: Come back. You’re needed.

This year’s seniors are probably a little more aware of how much I love them. Alyssa: We’re the same person (only you, like, get shit done), and I can’t imagine life without you. It’s going to be weird. Reza: I forgive you for dropping me, and for going to DC. Most of all I’m just stoked you’re not going back. Kelsey: How does one become as nice as you? It boggles my mind. Emily: You surpassed me so long ago — I’m in awe. Vishal: You’re the life of this party. Thanks for transferring. Edwin: Am I cool enough to be your friend yet? Please? Shida: I adore watching you sleep, but I wish we were dancing instead. Sari: Here’s to our cardboard box in Santa Monica. Let’s never be apart again, OK? Wes: Oh wait — you’re not a senior. Love you anyway.

Lastly, I offer my apologies to all those whose dreams I may have deferred this year with a half-raised eyebrow and a stupid red pen. The best leaders foster talent by instilling confidence — I never quite got the hang of that. To the A.S. councilmembers, the co-ops and whoever else we might have offended by misspelling your name or misunderstanding your cause: We know you’re just students too. But everyone needs a watchdog to keep them on their toes. Truce?

Reza Farazmand – Managing Editor, News Editor, Associate News Editor, Cartoonist

There is something profoundly different about newspaper people. Resilient, unpredictable, dangerously curious and decidedly unconcerned with their own well-being, they are a breed designed for action. They work strange hours and harbor strange habits. They deprive themselves of food, sleep, social interaction and anything else indicative of a sane human existence. They admire efficiency. They abhor waste. They are egomaniacs — admittedly vain, overly ambitious, disgustingly self-confident and completely self-aware. In private, they are idealists. In public, they are vocal skeptics, averse to the flowery bullshit of rhetorical activism and entirely unimpressed by the self-sustaining fanfare of institutional politics. They are the most loyal of friends, the most critical of enemies and the most prolific of shit talkers. They are up-front. They are real. They tend to look pretty haggard most of the time, but they wear it well.

Over the last four years, I have had the immense pleasure of being surrounded by newspaper people for the majority of my waking moments, and a few too many of my non-waking moments. Though I have given up more than I will ever know to be a part of this organization, these people — who I am honored to call my friends — have made every second entirely worth it.

To Charles and the rest of the old guard (Rael, McCardle and Hadley): You guys took me in, brought me up and made me feel at home here. Charles, you taught me how to be critical of everything, and for that I cannot thank you enough. Rael, you are the chillest son of a bitch around, and I am confident that — had I never met you — I would be a considerably lamer person.

To Jesse, Kim and Yelena: We were the news crew. I could always depend on you for quality reporting, much-needed moral support and cutty back-room sessions.

To Alyssa: Although I am the single most talented writer in the world, I cannot find the words on to describe how much your friendship means to me. There is no one else I would rather have spent four years on the Guardian with than you. You were a better managing editor than me. Don’t let that go to your head, though.

To Simone: You are something new — raw, unyielding, completely committed to the rejection of any and all things conventional. Arguing with you is like arguing with a tiger that coughs a lot. For that, I love you, and I can’t stress enough how great a job you’ve done as chief. I would sing like Justin Bieber if I thought it would make you happy.

To Phil: You are my brother. You give life to the bizarre things in my head. You inspire me to be a better artist. You are one of the most talented creative minds I know, and it has been an absolute joy to work with you this past year. And we’re just getting started.

To Emily: You have never once failed to amaze me with the work you produce. I don’t know how you do it, but you are an endless pool of artistic skill and deadpan humor rolled into one tiny, twirling, dash-tastic bundle of awesomeness. LOST.

To Edwin: Fuck you, bitch. You are the funniest motherfucker I know.

To Angela and Hayley: My girls. I am so proud of how far both of you have come this year. Thank you for sticking it out, rising brilliantly to the task and being the best damn news writers this paper has seen since that guy Reza graduated. You’re going to do a phenomenal job next year. I know we’re leaving the Guardian in capable hands.

To Trevor: If I had to pick 12 people to be in my ultimate party crew, you would be number six.

To Kelsey: I am jealous of your copy-editing skills.

To Cheryl and Arielle: Road-trip posse for life. Please play good music at production next year.

To Vishal: My method is still superior. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And to all of the rest of you who have shaped my experience at the Guardian: Thank you for being the zaniest, hardest-working, most over-the-top crew of intellectual misfits I have ever known. Being around you has made me a more complete person.

Alyssa Bereznak – Managing Editor, Opinion Editor, Focus Editor, Associate Focus Editor

My time at the Guardian has been somewhat of a real-life nightmare. In my four-year career as a writer and editor, I have endured far too many Redbull-fueled all-nighters, faced countless 3 a.m. disasters and lived beneath the rainy cloud of a perpetual deadline. In fact, the only time I’ve ever really been able to escape the G is when I’m asleep. But like I said, I don’t sleep very often.

Still, as I reminisce about my monotonous academic career at UCSD, it was usually the only good reason to be awake in the first place. Not to rag on all my lit/writing courses, but the terrifying gaze of 20,000 undergraduate eyes sort of scared me into improvement. Instead of a comfy workshop circle to test out my ideas, there was just a crowd of ruthless twentysomethings ready to say “You suck.” So thanks, even if you’re the most noncommittal Guardian reader — my fear of your judgment has made me better at my job.

The way I see it, if it weren’t for this paper, I would still be writing bad poems in my Moleskin, waiting to graduate so I could move on to undefined bigger, better things. The Guardian has taught me to live in the moment in the most intense way possible — even if that means letting other parts of my life fall apart.

Besides maybe inserting the word “poopy” into an editorial a couple weeks ago, I have no regrets. I know what’s important to me now, and that’s all I ever really wanted from college. I’m also guessing that, after thousands of hours of slave labor at an understaffed publication, I will probably never have to work this hard again in my life.

Now for shout-outs: Matt M., when I first joined, your infectious laugh and epic parties made me drool with admiration. Hadley, now that I’ve worked with you, I know I can work with anyone. Dave, thanks for adopting Focus when it needed a no-fluff parent most, and for the leopard couch. We still need to visit that beehive.

Trevor, since you survived that Wedge nightmare, I’ve always know you were one helluva trooper. Hayley, thanks for not quitting after I stood you up at 6 a.m. last year. Cheryl, I wish you could massage me until the end of time. Angela, girl, you da boss now — ’nuff said. Emily, I love your droopy office dance. Vishal, I’m making the Jamaican horn sound for you as I type. Kelsey, you’re cute enough to rival some big-time YouTube kitten videos, and you’re a really dedicated worker to boot. Edwin, it’s going to be you plus me plus hot sake this Friday — and many NY outings to come.

Sari and Shida: It might not seem like much, but the fact that you read what we write every week means a lot. Thanks for being the perfect distractions — without all those dance parties and delicious dinners, I would’ve overdosed on Guardian.

Reza and Simone: I’ve tried not to spew Sun God-esque affection this whole sendoff, but what the hell. I love you guys. Reza, you’re my trusty coworker and friend, and I will always appreciate how well you handled me breaking your tooth. I’m going to miss being shady and jaded with you.

Simone, my Guardian recruiter and yearlong companion: There were many Winter Quarter moments where you could’ve settled for a slightly shoddier paper, but you never did, and I’ll admire you forever for it. No matter how much time we spent together, I never really got sick of you (that’s my way of saying you rock). If you ever consider launching your fuckup career on the East Coast, I’ll make sure to scope you some sturdy cardboard boxes. In the meantime, take good care of Clubby for me.

Newbies, I can’t wait to see what you’ve got. It’s all in your hands now. Make me proud.

Kelsey Marrujo – Copy Editor, Columnist

Generally speaking, I loathe camping. Yet somehow, I found myself in the middle of the damn desert last Friday, crumpled in the fetal position over that papery tent material while I listened to stumbling drunks sing a confused version of the blues.

These others — were they kidnappers? Hooligans? Reality TV producers?

Try a group of UCSD journalists whose existence was unbeknownst to me my first two years of college. One winter’s day in 2009, they noticed my sloppy copy-reader application, jerked me into the nearest swivel chair, handed me some new-hire paperwork and stamped a big, invisible “G” on my forehead. I was in.

I had no idea how to assimilate. It took a full weeks to realize that “copy” meant me. I’d miss a million AP mistakes. One of my first news grabs ended up in a blubbering phone call to then-news editor Reza because my contact wasn’t calling me back. (Bitch.)

That low-key anxiety attack suddenly made me a part of the Guardian in-crowd. After initiation, I came to understand the people behind the titles:

Simone, you are the most empowering woman, keeping us in check but still embodying the edginess of Ke$ha 24/7. Trevor, my favorite, how can you write poetry, place articles, eat sandwiches and play deejay on YouTube simultaneously? My section, I’m so proud of you guys for breaking out of copy’s stereotypical wallflower persona, what with Monica’s requests to chain up the dog and Masha’s passive-aggressive post-its telling everyone to lay off our computers’ balls. Original sports editor Jake and his successor, Vishal: You both have a Disney prince-like charm that always makes me mosey (extra slowly) past the sports office. Alyssa, you are truly superwoman, showing the world that we UCSD kids can work hard and party hard, no sweat. Edwin, you’re the master of dance, sloshball and sex jokes — how can I be cool like you? Hayley and Angela, I’m always amazed at your politeness, apologizing whenever you ask me to copy read something (aka do my job). Reza, you better believe I will be spicing up your Facebook once a week now that I can’t bombard you with cheer in person anymore — and last but never least, Cheryl, you could make a Guardian gossip zine with your endless knowledge. I know it’s creepy, but I want to keep you in my pocket forever.

In a nutshell, I’ve been in love with the Guardian for a year. So much that I slept with bugs, peed in a bush, ate a barely cooked hot dog, listened to scary stories about Toys R Us and got bitched out by Sue the park ranger for blasting Julie Andrews last weekend — yet somehow, I would do it all over in a second.

Jake Blanc – Sports Editor, Columnist

I should start learning karate now. Or maybe Jiu-Jitsu. Hell, even Tae Bo would be a step in the right direction. After four years of talking some serious smack, I’m graduating, and I have to stop hiding up in the ivory tower of my Guardian columns. This means that the many people I offended — mostly Dodgers and Yankees fans, but also fair amounts of pro-Israel, Obama-loving, Prius-driving middle-class elites — would love a chance to share their “opinions” with me in person.

I’m not too worried about taking on the folks angered by my progressive politics, but I do not want to meet a pissed-off New Yorker in a dark alley.

In any case, the time has finally come to leave the Guardian, UCSD and Southern California behind. As much as I am overjoyed to be done with college and start some new adventures, I’m actually pretty sad to say goodbye to the people and experiences that made my time here so great, and a lot of that credit needs to go to the best damn newspaper in the country.

I got my start with the Guardian as a sports writer when two high school friends and former sports editors — Rael Enteen and Danai Leininger — convinced me to start writing. Those first articles covering the bottom of UCSD’s sports totem poll got me going, and for four years, I wrote as much as I could get my hands on. As a sophomore, I felt comfortable enough to branch out into other sections. By my senior year, I had hit the proverbial Guardian cycle: having written for all five sections.

Too many amazing things happened to fit into one measly column, but shout-outs need to go first and foremost to the 2010 Guardian sloshball champions. We showed heart, determination, unbelievable beer-drinking skills and an unmatched intellect to put those asshole Koalas in their place. Few things will ever feel so good as seeing Kris Gregorian go down like a sack of moldy potatoes.

The people who made my Guardian tenure unforgettable — specifically, my time as sports editor — include the following sexy beasts: Emily for being the greatest (and most patient) design editor on the planet; Janani and Matt for mobbing it as my associate editors and for keeping me sane; and Erik for helping keep the sports office the chillest of them all by always cracking (bad) jokes and watching sports 24/7.

Besides being great editors and leaders, Simone, Reza and Alyssa are all still some of the coolest people I met at UCSD, which made working for them so much better. And Vishal, I can never thank you enough for letting me pass the torch to you; the section has never looked better.

So after four years of “Blanc on Base,” I guess it’s time for me to round third and head home.

P.S. Fuck the Dodgers, GO GIANTS.

Jenna Brogan – Hiatus Editor

Film critics know that every good movie has a good ending. Don’t worry, I won’t spoon-feed you a load of a crap about happily-ever-afters, but I will say this: After four years of toiling over quotations, semicolons and em dashes, I’m going out with a bang.

If you told me four years ago that one day I would be Hiatus editor, I would have laughed in your face. I never spoke up at newspaper meetings, my favorite film is “Little Miss Sunshine” and I may or may not have symptoms of Bieber fever. But before you judge me, I’ll bet even A.O. Scott taps his foot whenever Britney Spears comes on the radio. Honestly, when did pretension become such a redeeming quality?

If always agreeing with the Academy’s picks for best films of the year makes you an authority in the arts-and-entertainment realm, then revoke my title.

Truth is: If the rhythm moves me, I’m going to dance. I don’t need some Rolling Stone writer to tell me what music I like. If Sandra Bullock’s Oscar win for “The Blind Side” is any indication, fame is little more than a popularity contest.

Every time I walk into an AMC, I find myself wondering: What happened to Hollywood? Sorry, but book adaptations, remakes, substance-empty chick flicks, recycled Michael Bay-splosions and five “Bring It On” sequels do not count as innovation.

Is a well-developed storyline, visually stunning cinematography, witty script, multidimensional characters, actors who are right for the roles (not simply hired for their entertainment value) and an overall message that really makes us think too much to ask?

At the theater, no matter how open-minded I try to be, I always end up rolling my eyes at an awkward Michael Cera, Kristen Stewart twirling her greasy strands or the Coen brothers basking in their own cleverness.

After four years of reviewing film — 95 percent of which was uninspired — you’d think I’d have lost all faith in the industry. But amid the underproduced fodder that gets churned out at the box office each week, there’s always a glimmer of hope. Though few and far between, great films do get produced, and I — along with all other tortured buff — will hold on with every last ounce of faith until the next one arrives.

On that silver lining, I’ll end with shout-outs.

Simone: Thanks for taking a chance on a nobody whose application was a shoddy “Lion King” theater review. It may have taken a year of rewrites before I wrote anything worth publishing, but my debut 50-word blurb on “The Holiday” still hangs from my refrigerator.

Dad and Mom: I don’t hate every film in the universe; I just have high standards. Yes — “Snakes on a Plane” really is one of the worst movies of all time. It didn’t really take me 20 minutes to go get popcorn.

Oh, and Nicolas Cage: Get a day job.

Matt Croskey – Associate Sports Editor

I would like to raise a toast: To the Guardian and its staff. Without you both, my final year on this campus would not have been as kick-ass as it was. As I sit in this muggy office at 2 a.m. — long past first, second and third edits — I couldn’t be happier.

My journey with the Guardian has evolved from a sports writer’s e-mail relationship to a full-fledged bromance as the associate sports editor. This year, I wanted to play a larger part with the paper. I expected that Sundays and Wednesdays would turn into long days and more responsibility. What I didn’t expect was that the relationships I’ve built would define my senior year. From hazy nights in Vegas to an epic sloshball win, it truly has been an, uh, somewhat memorable year.

On the more professional side, we have debated extensively over the meaning of athleticism, and you continued to grind away sports lingo to increase the accessibility of articles to the general public. Out of these arguments, I hope that you have come to learn more about sports than you ever wished you had — I know that I, for one, have come to appreciate the literal meanings of words far more than I care.

We sports snobs often times get caught up in stylistic meaning without concern for comprehension. I hope future Guardian staffers and editors can build the same (sometimes adversarial) collegiality that we developed over the year.

My only regret with the Guardian is not joining sooner. I’ll take solace in knowing that I made the most of this year. To the drinks we’ve shared and the good times we’ve had, this toast is over. Let’s chug some beer.

Sari Thayer – Web Editor

I got sort of tied up at work today. The server crashed, Lights and Sirens was spammed and the Web poll peaced out because it wasn’t getting enough love. For the full story, check the Web exclusive at (coming soon)

Edwin Gonzalez – Focus Editor

Staying in San Diego wasn’t the god-awful decision I imagined it’d be. In my defense, I’d already spent 18 years here before everyone else showed up. And during that time, I’d firmly decided I didn’t like the ocean, Shamu nor short-sleeved shirts.

Don’t get me wrong — not everything’s changed. I still don’t care for the ocean, or Shamu. But I’ve come to terms with San Diego; if only because the last four years have been worth all the salt water in the world.

Like other exhausted interests, journalism was something I picked up on a half-whim. Film came before it. Matter of fact, film was the reason I started writing for the Guardian in the first place. It took three applications (ahem, Simone), but because of it, I spent the next three years of my life swallowing NoDoz three times a week. Needless to say, it was the best decision I ever made in college.

However, I’d be lying if I said that the Guardian was the only thing that made these last four years so amazing. I have others to thank too.

To Mom and Dad: Thank you for your continued love, support, Triton Cash and text messages that I know take five minutes to type. I love you so much. Adriana: I still read the letter you typed on my (then-new) laptop from time to time — the one in electric green. And yes, I remember pretending to be beached mermaids lost at shore. Next year’s going to be amazing. Trust me.

To Rah: I know I’ve told you this before, but there’s no one I admire more. I can’t wait to visit the obelisk again. To Carmina and Yedid: Thanks for letting me be your little brother, and for convincing me my Spanish wasn’t as terrible as it was.

And now, for Guardian folks. To Ke$ — sorry, Simone: How someone could be so silly, sexy and damn good at turning out headlines amazes me. I’m honored to end my tenure with you at the helm. Alyssa and Reza: The managing office was by far my favorite, and not because of the beer closet in the corner. Sake’s on me this Friday, but only the first cup.

To News, the girls who stroked every ligament of my musical ego: Much love, and many nights filled with the best of the ’80s. Hiatus: My alma mater and the greatest section to write for — hands down. Thanks for putting up with my leftovers, and the eight weeks that they rotted there for. And Sports: May your lives be a never-ending series of Jamaican Horn moments.

Emily: Words can’t describe the magic you conjured up, every Sunday, to turn Focus into art. And to Aprille, Neda and Zoe: You were three of the most talented associates I had the fortune of working with. The pleasure was all mine.

Vishal Natarajan – Sports Editor

I consider myself to be an adaptable, “go-with-the-flow” kind of person. I’ve experienced enough change in my life to know that it’s a fact of life that ought to be embraced, not resisted.

Now, perched on the precipice of graduation, if only I could just conjure that wisdom, because right now, I feel a little empty.

I can’t fight a creeping vulnerability as I face up to the unnerving realization I have been trying to ignore for quite sometime now: college is over.

Truth is, if someone asked me at the school year’s start if I was ready to graduate, my answer would have been “hell yes.” I had never forged the “home away from home, best years of my life” collegiate experience that so many rave about.

My first two years at UC Riverside, I felt oppressed by the lack of commonalities between (at least what I thought was) a shallow-minded, intellectually uninspired student body and myself. I had a handful of good friends and few college- defining experiences I appreciated. I felt a sense of loss that I had missed out on “the good times.”.

When I transferred to UCSD, the cynicism that my time at Rivershit had cultivated persevered, and fit in seamlessly with the hordes of zombie students. But my senior year was an awakening of sorts, and it’s no coincidence my collegiate life finally became fulfilling when I joined the Guardian staff. You guys have enriched my life.

To the Guardian staff, word count constraints prevent me from writing to each of you individually, because if I did, you all would have page-long essays. But if I have worked with you in the office on a regular basis, then know this: The time we have spent together this year has made this past year the best of my life to date (sorry, can’t help it). You bunch of quirky, funny, unique, endearing group of intelligent people are the kind I always thought college was supposed to introduce to me. The memories of our times together will be ingrained on my heart as long as it beats, as they’ve transformed my experience in college from one of indifference to one I don’t want to see end. Thank you for touching my life, and I’m humbled to have had this opportunity.

I had way more in this, but it wouldn’t be authentic if I didn’t have to edit my work down.

Erik Jepsen – Photo Editor

Photography has always been a conundrum for me: I believe it is more important to live the moment than to necessarily capture the moment; I would far rather be in front of a lens than behind one; I do not like the constant pressure of getting the perfect shot, but the perfect shot is what I always want; and although I live with the camera, you will not likely see me with my camera, unless I am on an assignment. Yet despite everything, I love capturing the emotion and human spirit of every event or place I have been.

I want to thank the Guardian for the honor and privilege of serving the students and faculty at UCSD for the past four years. The work has been personally rewarding, and I can deny the occasional pleasure in the recognition of fellow students for the work I so love.

A big “thank you” is extended to every editor who has ever worked in the sports section (Danai, Rael, Janani, Jake, Matt, Vishal and Liam). You’ve all made our time together at the Guardian hilariously entertaining and enjoyable. Emily, thank you for working with my pictures when I could not capture your intent; your designs were always awesome! To John: You are the man, good luck next year. I am certain you’ll make the paper look good.

To everyone else, it’s been a pleasure working with you; I love you all. So this is Erik closing the lens cover one last time for the Guardian. Have an awesome, grand, fantastic, great, stellar … grand day!

Oh yeah, and “Lionhearts” are the best thing to happen to photography since … ever. And in regard to photography, I am certain the Guardian sets the standard for other California college newspapers.

We have set a high bar of accomplishment that I am sure future staff will carry forward.

Philip Rhie – Art Editor

Admittedly, my stint at the Guardian was sort of impersonal, as I spent less time forming relationships and more time making my comics and illustrations look as badass as possible. That’s not to say that I don’t have my fair share of appreciation for the Guardian. It gave me a sense of purpose and direction when I lacked it most, and despite my emotional detachment from the paper, I’m forever grateful for the Guardian’s effect on my life and the relationships that I’ve formed there.

I’d like to thank Chris Kokiousis for giving me my start. Without his encouragement, his love of video games and his creation of my column, I would never have seen the Guardian as a legit creative venue. Thanks, Christina Aushana, for hiring me as an illustrator and giving me a chance to unload my emotional woes on our undergraduate population. Had she not suggested that I draw a comic, Sunny-Side Up would never have been birthed. Consequently, I’d like to thank Simone and anyone else involved in my hiring as Art Editor for giving me the liberty to extend my mopey story throughout the rest the year. Without that option, I don’t think I would have ever written my own comic novel.

I’d like to thank Reza for his vision and preference for my particular artistic style. Had he not continually approached me with new ideas, I would never have swung by the office as much as I did. I’d also like to thank him for our collaborative efforts, which I find to have been one of the most fulfilling opportunities the Guardian has allowed me (next to Sunny-Side Up). But mostly, he’s someone I could talk to when I was emo-ing out. Thanks, man.

I’d like to thank Emily for her peppy personality, juxtaposed against a usually irritated demeanor. I always found this to be a splendid surprise. I’d like to thank Erik for his sense of humor — which, against Emily’s personality, was the best comic relief in the office. I’d also like to thank Vishal Natarajan, whose heart-to-hearts in and out of the office always kept me grounded in the here and now.  Incidentally, I’d also like to thank his drunken alter-ego for embodying all the ’70s Jack Nicholson sleaze that I didn’t know actually existed.

I’d like to thank News, Opinion, Focus and Hiatus for dealing with my tardiness. Having never been the most punctual artist, I appreciate that they dealt with me ’til the very end. The same to the managing editors. I’d also like to thank the art team for taking me seriously.  I never thought myself the most competent individual, and their etiquette toward my rank was humbling.

Finally, I’d like to thank the Guardian for setting me up with Kim Cyprian, the new art editor and fellow artist extraordinaire, whose existence has created an altogether new fear of life and death that I never once fathomed in my overabundant imagination.  Never has life seemed so vast and adventurous until now. Thanks.

Never having been very good at goodbyes, I’ll just say: Thanks, Guardian. I’ll see you around.

Emily Ku – Design Editor

In true Guardian fashion, I’m writing this following a 5 a.m. production — after which I headed home not to sleep, but to prepare for a discussion I had to teach at 8 a.m. I’ve got InDesign open because I still have to design Sports, Photoshop open because I’m trying to plan the image that’s supposed to go with it, and the last five text messages I’ve received (and the last seven I’ve sent) have been Guardian-related.

How do you just walk away from something so all-encompassing? How do you reconcile what has been your entire life with the mystery that is to come?

The other day, Neda and Liam were arguing over whose section I was more loyal to, Focus or Sports. (I wasn’t sure if it was the right time to point out that the debate was moot, because neither of them will be getting me next year.) Richard only gave Focus to me because no one else wanted it, but Alyssa had my back from the beginning, taking unfortunate creative liberties with Michael Capparelli’s artwork. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else with me every step of the way. Dave humored me when I had my epiphany last winter (or psychotic break, however you want to look at it), until he realized I was dead serious — and so “The Memory Remains” went to print.

Edwin kept right in step with me this entire year, always dependable, always positive, and never saying a word when he was stuck in the office at 3 a.m. because I’d thrown out three different designs. Once the dust from Focus reconstruction settled, Sports was next. Janani, the only person I would ever share an office and “Lost” with, and Jake, Vishal, Matt and Liam: It’s your enthusiasm and pride that inspires my love for designing your section. No section is more fun to work with. Can we say the rest is Guardian history?

I sometimes think about how terrible my timing is, becoming so attached to print media when it’s on its way out. But I’m only lucky to have found this part of my stressball self when I did, uncovered by a hodgepodge of scrappy journalists you can’t find anywhere else.

With design, it was Simone who was my best critic, and Reza my best friend. Simone, you can weather any storm. Design never fails because of you; I don’t know how you do it all. Reza, I can’t think of the word “collab” without thinking of you, and no one can seem to call me Em Dash quite the same way. I’ll be looking for that telltale resilient bird when you become famous.

Angela and Hayley, all I know is that you guys are going to do the Guardian proud. Melody, I have the utmost faith in you. Remember that you are only at your beginning, looking back on my ending. Just a heads-up: you’re going to be everyone’s favorite person. I couldn’t have asked for a more promising successor.

And Erik: No words can really say. As Dave said, the war is almost over. But I wouldn’t have traded the ride for anything.

A designer’s work is always seen but never known. It’s always a journey, but it’s always worth it. To everyone, thank you. I don’t know how else to say it. I would end with an em dash — but I wouldn’t be able to qualify it with anything more amazing than the people who make that me.

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