Spring 2020 is an odd time to graduate. What is normally a time of bittersweet “last moments” is now a cavalcade of Zoom calls and emails from university officials telling you that your graduating class is brave for going through the final semester online. It gets a little old, hearing the same thing from different people over and over again. I wanted to hear one thing, back when this was just starting: “You can come back to your normal life now.” I wanted to come back to the campus I had grown familiar with over the past few years, I wanted to come back to student teaching my middle schoolers and most of all, I wanted to come back to production nights at The Daily Campus.
My first year at the DC, I was a sophomore, and I wasn’t there because I was a writer. No, I had responded to a call for copy editors, failed the copy editing quiz and then applied to be a designer in the wake. My first year at the DC, I didn’t talk to a single person, which I know comes as a shock to anyone who knows me. Lyric, at a loss for words? Usually, I’m loud, proud, and talking a bit more than I should. But when I’m shy, I go hard, and my first year as a designer half the workroom didn’t even know what I sounded like. I just handed in my pages, got my work checked and ran out of the room as soon as I could.
The next two years, something changed. Maybe it was the fact that I finally passed the copy editing quiz and got to take on an additional night of work, maybe it’s that I finally started to talk to the people I worked with. Whatever it was, I’m grateful that it changed. Working alongside so many gifted page designers, writers, copy editors and digital designers gave me a new appreciation for the work that we did in that room each week. It made me proud to be a part of something bigger than myself, that reached people in a way that nothing else I’d done up to that point managed to do. Most importantly, we were our authentic selves behind the scenes. Our endless nights of coloring, of screaming at the ever-failing design computers and of traveling to 7-Eleven to get our fix of one-dollar coffees bring a smile to my face, even as I type this article.
And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain (yes, Frank Sinatra lyrics, I know). It was exciting to picture a final semester at the DC, getting to go to Banquet, getting to create my final designs, writing this column in the workroom instead of on my bed at midnight. But times are different now, and this is the way I leave the building, metaphorically speaking. I had hoped that this moment would have been filled with hugs between friends and the metaphorical passing of the torch from seniors to the underclassmen who would remain. Something poetic, or at the very least, fun. But that isn’t what happened, we won’t get our final goodbyes in the walls of the DC building and though we don’t need to be in the physical location to make our farewells, there’s something about the closure of it that would have admittedly been nice.
At our Zoom Banquet, I got to see the faces of those I have gotten to know over the past three years, and I felt so thankful. All of these people were talented, sharp and dedicated to a similar cause. In a moment, I got that feeling again, what it’s like to be a part of something bigger than yourself. As each section presented their superlatives, and each person’s face popped up on the infamous Zoom checkerboard, I forgot that I was stuck inside and away from everyone. For an hour and a half on Friday, it felt like I was right back on campus procrastinating on my school work by focusing on my job work. I’m thankful that I got to attend my very first DC Banquet, even if I did it from my bedroom in UConn-themed pajamas. It wasn’t the closure that any of us expected, but it was the closure that I needed.
Lyric McVoy is an outgoing designer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at Lyric.McVoy@uconn.edu.