Yes, in case you’re wondering, that headline is an “Avengers: Endgame” reference. In fact, there will be major spoilers for the movie in the next four paragraphs. So skip to the sixth paragraph to avoid them.
Many people in my life know that I am obsessed with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now you know, too. But at the end of the blockbuster “Avengers” movie that came out a few weeks ago, Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, aka my absolute favorite character, sacrifices his life to save the entire universe. I bawled my eyes out in the theater when I saw that he died. I bawled my eyes out in bed later that night, too.
Why did he have to die? How am I ever going to watch another Marvel movie again without beautifully-delivered Robert Downey Jr. one-liners? How will the MCU go on without the man who started it all?
These questions actually haunted me after watching the movie for the first time. But the more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that RDJ has been doing these movies for 11 years. Twenty-two movies in 11 years! That’s insane.
And then it hit me. RDJ has probably reached a point in his life where he feels it’s time to move on from the MCU. Chris Evans (Captain America), too. This is how I feel about UConn.
When I started as a freshman at the Daily Campus, I was dreading the day I’d leave. I felt empathy for every senior that walked out the door and never walked back in. They must feel devastated, leaving something behind they’ve dedicated so many hours of their life to. Close friends I made in only a school year’s time were out in the real world doing bigger and better things before I could even blink.
The Daily Campus quickly became my home, by both choice and by force. I chose to apply for the job that would keep me there every Sunday, Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday night, so it was fairly easy to spend more time in that building than in my own dorm. I did this for two years (not to mention I covered men’s basketball on top of that), and they were easily the best two years of my life.
But boy, is it hard work. It’s a lot of nights where you sit there and wonder how a normal UConn student spends their free time. It’s a lot of nights where the entire paper finishes production but then you realize you forgot to design the opinion section because you spent the last six plus hours talking and having fun. It’s a lot of nights where there’s no parking behind Whitney so you have to park in T-Lot and walk down the hill at 3 a.m.
It was a lot of nights that I’m never going to forget. We popped a water balloon with a dart inside the building. We shot nerf guns at each other while we were trying to write. We danced into the wee hours of the morning to the same songs every week. We juggled plastic eggs.
But we also worked tirelessly, from 6 p.m. to about 2 a.m. on a regular basis. We laid out 12 pages every night, wrote and copy edited dozens of stories per day and actually had a functioning website (most of the time). The best part of my job was being able to interact with every single person every single week, and my UConn experience was all the better for it. Anyone who I’ve ever talked to at the Daily Campus has impacted my life in some positive way.
During our banquet this past week, I thought I was going to cry. Turns out seeing “Endgame” three times in five days actually purges the tears from your system pretty well. But as I said my goodbyes to everyone, I didn’t feel sadness. I didn’t feel regret. I didn’t feel like I still had more to do. I felt satisfied, and fulfilled. It was time to move on.
Watching the end of “Endgame,” I was an outsider looking in. I went on the wild MCU journey and I wasn’t ready for it to end. But as the insider now, in my own world, I understand the feeling. What defined me as a freshman four years ago does not define me now. I’m a new person with a new perspective and new morals to guide me. I’m ready for the next phase, if you will.
So thank you for everything, UConn. Thank you for putting me through the worst of it and the best of it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to travel to a foreign country to look at rocks for two weeks and get sick of white rice in a very short amount of time. Thank you for giving me my Daily Campus family. Thank you for the late night talks and the late night laughs.
It’s all going to be okay. It’s already okay. You can rest now.