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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Parting thoughts: Well those were just, like, my opinions, man

The end is near. Doomsday prophecies aside, the school year is nearly complete and for a lot of Badgers, myself included, it means our time in college is nearly over as well. Compared to the life ahead of us, college is but a small fraction of time. As short as it seemed, it has been one hell of a trip and one that will have a profound impact on me for the rest of my life. More than the friendships, classes, parties and Union Terrace, college is a remarkable opportunity to challenge yourself and in so doing, discover your potential. 

As recently as last spring I would not have considered myself a writer or even a creative person. All that changed last April while I was drinking with friends at the Vintage and someone mentioned I should run for the opinion editor position at The Daily Cardinal. Whether it was the liquor, a fleeting moment of foolishness or both, I said yes. Not knowing the first thing about editing for a newspaper, I constantly questioned my decision for the next few weeks and throughout my training process. 

A year later I can tell you it was the greatest decision I’ve made in college. Due to an unlikely scenario, I’ve finally discovered the joy and satisfaction writing brings me. I’d be remiss not to thank my peers at The Daily Cardinal for such an incredible opportunity. Knowing full well the risk they were taking by selecting someone with little-to-no experience to be the paper’s next opinion editor, they gave me a shot to prove myself. For that I am, and will always be, grateful. 

When I came to college, I knew I wanted to be the voice of campus and be involved in representing fellow students, so I ran for student government three times and lost impressively each time. I even walked around campus with a horse mask trying to rally voters last spring. Three times I tried and three times I failed. 

I thought I wanted nothing more than to be the voice of campus, so losing time after time after time was exhausting. Then, in the most unexpected way, I  found myself representing campus in an entirely different manner.   

When I came to Madison in Fall 2011 I had no idea I would ever get the chance to hold the ear of campus and write on topics from NASA and exploring the vastness of outer space to dealing with depression and discovering the vastness within ourselves.   

The point here is you’ll never learn your true potential until you take a leap not knowing precisely where your feet might land. You will fall flat on your ass from time to time (or maybe three times in a row) and you’ll wonder what you’ve done to have the stars align against you. The important idea to remember is to keep getting back up after you fall. Even when a wave breaks over a rock, it always comes back around.   

I don’t know where my writing will take me, professionally or otherwise, and what a beautiful thing it is to not know. I certainly don’t think I’ve reached my peak, so to say goodbye seems a bit melodramatic, for it implies I’m done writing. But for me, there are many pages left to turn and a lot of ink yet to spill. So goodbye… but just for now.

Cullen Voss is a graduating senior majoring in political science and history. Did you get dewy-eyed reading about Cullen’s experiences? Do you like “The Big Lebowski?” Send all comments to

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