Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)

Written by Pausha Naidoo in Senior Editorial

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…

Not one to struggle when it comes to writing, this edition’s column has been particularly difficult for me. Not because of a lack of words, but rather an overflow of goodbyes and reflections. It is a column that signifies many conclusions: my term as Editor-in-Chief, my long relationship with VARSITY newspaper and my soon-to-be-completed academic career at UCT (hopefully). 

I signed up for VARSTIY in first year during plaza week. I remember being greeted by a particularly unapproachable, uninterested and intimidating VARSITY member. In my first year most of my articles were rejected, with a total of two being published. My hopes and dreams were crushed of being the next Christiane Amanpour (when CNN was still reputable) but a little voice told me to keep at it. 

Somewhere between being rejected and sending out an application, I got a breakthrough. My journey to this point has been filled with countless people who believed I had potential. So it is only fitting that this column takes on the format of an Oscar winning speech. 

Thank you to the readers and my peers that have engaged with this paper throughout this year. For some students VARSITY is simply regarded as a newspaper that solely works to glorify white supremacist narratives, as indicated by my peer Taariq Amod.  It is these types of criticisms and engagements that help our paper grow and force us to be critical and understand how the student body perceives the paper we deliver to them. So I thank you all.

Thank you to my fellow Sunday-Subbing warriors, Jena and Courtney. You have made me laugh, gone along with my crazy ideas and shared my love for Kauai wraps and Debonairs pizza. Thank you to my superhero, Gape, for cracking the whip when needed and always reassuring me that things would be fine.

Thank you to my team: those that stayed, those that resigned, those who disappeared, and those who had to leave due to personal reasons. Each and every one of you taught me something about myself and VARSITY newspaper.  

A special thank you to the remarkable people listed in the column next to me. Thank you for creating those amazing videos, working on our app (soon to be released), editing those articles, writing those investigative pieces, bidding for online writers, feeding us pizza, preventing me from jumping off the balcony on Steve Biko Level 5, finding the elusive v-drive, getting the printer to work, calling us into order when we didn’t deliver the paper and ensuring we didn’t go bankrupt. Thank you all for being real team players despite the long hours, constant Whatsapp messages and no pay (for some reason people think we get paid, WE DON’T).  

Thank you to my friends that have picked up every edition and sent me those reassuring WhatsApp messages and thank you to that friend that pointed out the typos in my column but still loved me enough to keep reading (you know who you are). 

I’ve generally found myself writing this column in the early hours of Sunday mornings when I’m pumped up on too many cups of instant coffee, wracked with anxiety about the looming extinction of the Giant Panda and worried that people would hate me for what I wrote. Thank you to the person that held my hand through this anxiety and worry, and cheered me on to keep using my words and voice. 

To my successor, Aisha, and the rest of the 2016 team I wish you all success. Nothing could have prepared us for this year and all the craziness that came with it, but that’s the beauty of being a student newspaper. Remember to stay critical, stay committed and always work to serve the student body. 

And trust me on the sunscreen. 

 

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