July 7, 2020

ARORA | Final Sunset

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After four years of being a reporter on the objective side of things, I’ve often dreaded this graduation column. I’m not very good at articulating how I feel, and definitely don’t think I’m a great writer. So I’m going to stick to the basics and do what I know best: Talk about The Sun.

When I first got to Cornell, I followed the advice that almost all of us receive and tried new things. I signed up for way too many listservs at Club Fest and attended a lot of G-bodies as that excited freshman during the first semester. Being an international student, I think I tried even harder to find the “community” that was promised, hoping that at least one of the groups I signed up for would give me that feeling of belonging that I was looking for thousands of miles away from home.

Thankfully, one of the many organizations that I put my name down for that freshman fall was “the oldest, continuously independent” college newspaper, and over the years, while everything else has fallen to the wayside, trekking down to the ivy covered building at the corner of the Commons became a constant over my time at Cornell — and I’m so glad it did.

The Sun is unlike any other organization on this campus. I’ve been told multiple times to quit, because my friends firmly believe that being a full-time journalist while also being a Cornell student is ridiculous and that nothing justifies staying up til 2 a.m. to put together a newspaper multiple nights every week with the expectation of being present at your 8:40 the next day. I managed to ignore their well-meaning advice through my college career, and while my GPA isn’t faring much better because of it, it gave me a Cornell experience that far exceeded my expectations.

What I love about The Sun is that even though it is in every way a trial by fire — too often I was writing an article instead of studying for the prelim I had the next day, and on multiple occasions lumbered into Zeus running on very few hours of sleep — it introduced me to some of the most hard-working and passionate people I’ve ever met, who I can now call some of my closest friends.

Not everyone who works at The Sun wants to go into journalism (I don’t either), but it’s still a collection of people who have a crazy level of commitment to a job that pays them nothing, and they’re all somehow sort of into 80s music and get a great deal of joy from drinking copious amounts of Andre. So while I still do not want to be a journalist — between the numerous correction emails, trips to Shortstop, long conversations in KG42 and page redesigns minutes away from deadline — I found that community that I was looking for.

The Sun isn’t perfect, and anybody who tells you otherwise is wearing rose-colored glasses. Going from a writer, to an editor, to just a washed up senior who hangs around, I know that everyone may not feel the same sense of community that I’m talking about here. But there is something for everyone at this organization, and if you give it a chance, it may end up taking you by surprise.

While the sunsets on the slope, the continuous search for an empty table at Zeus and midnight tacos at Dos Amigos will all be fond memories of my time at Cornell, this shortened semester took away my final months at 139 W State Street, and that’s what I’m going to miss the most.

These last two months have taught me that life is unpredictable and what matters most are the people who stick by you as you go through the cliched ups and downs. I’ve never been the emotional type, more pragmatic and “stoic” as some of my closest high school friends may say, but I’ve realized that letting people know that they are greatly appreciated is also extremely important. So I’m going to attempt to put those thoughts into words and give a shout out to all those who I am so deeply thankful for, because they made my time at The Sun what it was.

To the news crew of 136: People often look back at the year they spend as managing editor as some of their worst semesters at Cornell — constantly stressful, filled with correction emails and the burden of running The Sun weighing heavily on their shoulders. While I did get my fair share of all that, the people I shared this experience with made it a time to remember fondly. Each and every one of you brought something so different to the table, but over the course of endless hours of desking, wine nights and movies, you all became the support structure that I never knew I needed. Thank you for an amazing year, and for some of my best Cornell memories. I’m sure you know that there’s always a couch available for y’all in whichever city I end up in.

Alisha, if there’s one person who knows the craziness I went through, it’s you. Thank you for being there whenever I needed you. I wish that instead of being stuck in quarantine, Megan, you and I could be on a road trip blasting early 2000s bops and getting sage advice in a random Denny’s in the middle of nowhere. Josh, I know I didn’t end up signing up for design, but I think I managed to somehow finesse these last 3 years. Thanks for setting the standards and answering all my questions — hopefully my turn at the helm wasn’t too disastrous. Jacob, we had our fair share of controversy, and I don’t think I could have managed it all without you. Thanks for making sure that our favorite college daily is still thriving.

Sarah, thank you for taking the organization to new heights after I managed to stumble through the year I was in charge. I’m going to miss our non-verbal communications and the continuous stream of puns. Maryam, I know that with you in charge The Sun is in safe hands even in its most uncertain times. You will never cease to inspire me; thank you for not saying no to writing articles before your orgo prelims, and I hope you can keep up the tradition of ordering Thai food for the entire newsroom.

To my illustrious roommates at 407, you’ve been there when I’ve come back up the hill at an insane hour ready to listen to a rant or just be there while I recount my day. Thanks for letting me turn the house into a Sun annex. College without you guys would have been a lot less entertaining, and definitely filled with much less knowledge about FIFA. Gonna miss bugging y’all once this is over.

And finally Mom and Dad: it’s tough to send your only daughter thousands of miles away to a small town in the opposite corner of the world, but please know that I appreciate you and all that you’ve done for me everyday. I know you don’t understand why I spend an absurd amount of time on this publication, but thank you for supporting me through it all, and for always believing in me.

Girisha Arora is graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences. She was a Senior Editor on The Sun’s 137th Editorial Board, Managing Editor on the 136th Editorial Board, and an Assistant News Editor on the 135th Editorial Board.