When I sat down in the Yokum lecture hall for my first Cardinal Points critique, I thought right there that I wouldn’t be sticking with it long. The meetings were long, the editors were unapproachable and slightly aggressive, the workload was different from what I was used to and I only knew one person. Yeah, I was sure Cardinal Points wasn’t for me.

I settled into the opinions section and wrote a column each week. It became natural and easy for me. I decided to push myself and wrote my first FUSE article. It was damn awful. It was sent back to me, bleeding with red ink. “Yep, I’m done,” I thought.

A few weeks later, it was elections, and I was nominated for opinions editor. I reluctantly took it on. I sat at my first board of directors meetings across from familiar faces. I didn’t realize that these faces would become some of my best and closest friends.

I was completely right about Cardinal Points. It’s fast-paced, it’s strenuous hours, it’s tense moments — it’s stressful. But I was wrong that I didn’t belong here. I can’t picture myself anywhere else. Cardinal Points helped me find my voice.

If I didn’t stick it out that first meeting, I would have never met the ever elusive Maggie McVey. My better half, my drrriver, my friend, my foe, my faux friend — my best friend. The things we’re able to come up with when we’re together are hilarious and infectious. She is always there to lend a hand or an ear. She’s listened, cried and laughed with me, and I’ll never forget it. When she’s around, I’m able to tap into the best parts of me.

Winta, my winters. You are so wise and full of sage advice. You are poised, calm, kind and assertive, and I hope that one day I can be as poised and held together as you are. You are a strong woman, and you have given me a true role model I can look to and admire.

And Brian, the one you can always count on to be there. Whether you were sitting with me in a Philadelphia bathroom or being the voice of reason in the office, you have always been a loyal, supportive friend.

There have been numerous people who have come and gone from the Cardinal Points e-board. This year especially, I have grown attached to each of them. Although I may not always show it, I have a tremendous respect for the talent and passion each writer, videographer and photographer has for what they do.

I’ve seen Alex miss classes to get the photo and Amanda pull all-nighters to get the work done. I’ve seen Zach single-handedly read through each story, each week. I’ve seen Chris write three columns a week to fill his section and Nick sit patiently and take the time to work through page design.

Love is a strong word. Hate is an even stronger word. There are moments when I have a test to study for, four pages to design, a story to write, a writer to teach, phone calls to make – all while I haven’t showered in two days or eaten in eight hours — those are the moments that, for a second, I hate what I’m doing.

Then, in another instance, Maggie will give me a side-eye from above our computers, or Alex will call someone beautiful, or Amanda will ask me what she can help me with. When that happens, I know I love what I’m doing, and I know I love Cardinal Points, and I love my friends I’ve made here.

So, I leave Cardinal Points with my wisest of words that come from a long Friday night with the best of the best: “Remember that this, this will not last forever … but Cardinal Points, that does.”

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<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/brittany-shew/" rel="tag">Brittany Shew</a>