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This story has no ending

senior column

I hate endings. Whether or not the good times have outweighed the bad, something about the finality of last moments will always make me cry. 

Even fictional conclusions have made me bawl. This is such a common occurrence that I’ve taken to avoiding the last chapter of a book or the finale of a TV series that I’m particularly attached to. 

This past March was the first time that I cried not because I had watched the last episode of yet another season of Grey’s Anatomy but rather because I was denied the ending of a real story.

My journey with The Chronicle had many beginnings. When I got into Duke and my dad picked me up a copy of The Chronicle from Foster’s Market. When I showed up for my first news meeting in the intimidating board room on the second floor of Flowers. When my article about Bell Tower shaking from construction was on the front page above the fold my freshman year on, what I later realized, was definitely a slow news day.

However, I feel that this story really began as I got to know the people who made it so unforgettable. When I gushed to Shagun about my sophomore year crush. When I threw my first frisbee with Nathan on the quad. When Isabelle had to explain a joke to me for the first (but not the last) time. When I sat down with Bre in Vondy and she invited me to be a part of V.114. I may have joined The Chronicle because I wanted to try journalism (and because I vainly wanted to see my name in print), but I stayed because of the people.

301 Flowers—this story’s setting, if you will—is so much more than an office. When you’ve laughed, edited, doodled, cried, partied, studied, and puzzled, all within the same four off-white walls, the space becomes sacred. Simply put, 301 Flowers is a safe haven. I am so grateful to have had a physical place on campus where I felt I belonged.

One of the hallmarks of an exceptional story is that you can put it down for a while, say the length of one semester, and then pick it up again, feeling like you never even left. Yes, this is my cheesy metaphor for the experience of going abroad and coming back again.

After bonding with the V.114 upper masthead during our sophomore spring, I worried that I’d feel awkward when I returned from my Fall semester in Madrid. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Thank you—Bre, Ben, Isabelle, Nathan, and Shagun—for warmly welcoming me back and putting up with all my A.P. and Chronicle Style questions.

As one chapter came to a close, for me, another chapter opened. It was a privilege to be an editor not only for V.114 but also for V.115. Thank you to Jake for allowing me to be a part of his amazing team.

In my senior spring—the first semester at Duke when I was not officially associated with The Chronicle—I spent significantly less time in the office. My last moments in 301 Flowers were spent eating Loop pizza while watching the Super Tuesday polls slowly roll in. Not the grandest way to conclude this story.

I wish we had closure. I wish we could all be together one last time in 301 Flowers. Drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonades. Listening to Africa by Toto. Watching the sunset light up the Chapel.

This is how I imagined my time with The Chronicle coming to an end. But here’s the thing about real endings. They do not go to plan. They are never carefully wrapped up with a bow. True stories, like this one, are both epic and messy, spectacular and miserable.

In lieu of proper hugs and goodbyes, I can only express in writing how thankful I am for The Chronicle and how much I will miss everyone who made 301 Flowers feel like home. These may be extraordinary times, but I’m truly grateful to have had (almost) four extraordinary years with you.

Lexi served as senior editor for the second half of The Chronicle’s 114th volume and the first half of the 115th volume. From V.114 upper masthead team, she’d like to thank Bre Bradham for always greeting her with a smile, Ben Leonard for not taking himself too seriously, Nathan Luzum for sharing her love of archives, Shagun Vashisth for all the times they talked (instead of studying) in Perkins, and Isabelle Doan for always being a person that she can call. She’d also like to thank Stefanie Pousoulides for always distracting her with tea but never asking about her t(hesis).

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