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I closed the door on my Penn career sitting in Huntsman Hall watching the timer as it ticked towards blinking zeros. My accounting exam was obviously going fantastic … what a way to go out.

I wasted a lot of time at Penn. We all have. Studying for tests just for the grade. Writing papers we’re not interested in. Sitting in lectures in which the professor cares less about being there than we do. Lots of time wasted on fruitless things that won’t amount to much.

However, there was never a moment in my four years at Penn in which I felt like I wasted time at The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Freshman year was a very tough adjustment period for me, as it is with many people. I couldn’t name a class I actually enjoyed going to and my grades were lackluster at best. I kept comparing myself to the people around me and wondering what the hell I was doing here. I had no real purpose — or at least if I did it had escaped me at the time. The one thing that kept me going was the family I found in TreyBlue — my freshman hall, who to this day remain my first source of comfort at Penn. After a rough fall, I decided it was time to challenge myself and find a new outlet, so why not just join the DP?

I can’t point to another decision I’ve made that has had the biggest impact on my life than that of joining the DP. I learned the challenges of running a company and motivating people. I learned about taking risks and making really bad decisions. I learned about self doubt and confidence, about accepting failure and constantly striving for success. It was inside the walls of 4015 that I found my passion for both business and media. Above all, I learned the value of telling stories and providing a platform for people’s voices to be heard.

None of these experiences would have been possible without the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of working with every day for the past four years. Those who dedicate themselves to keeping the community informed and telling others’ stories will always be top tier in my book, and I couldn’t think of a better group of people to have spent the majority of my time with.

I wish Penn students had more courage. I wish we took time to explore our interests more and really put as much time in to discovering who we are and what we value. In a way, I feel like the DP was my stroke of luck — an opportunity to forge my own path and distance myself from the typical track — and I’m so excited to build my own company, Vyrtex, with the skills and knowledge that I’ve gained from my time at the DP.

My time at Penn is up and I keep wavering between the sheer excitement of being done and all of the pent up anxiety of entering the “real world.” I’m afraid I won’t encounter another place with the same potential for amazing conversations. I’m afraid I won’t be surrounded by optimistic people who believe in a better world. And I’m afraid that a lot of times I just don’t have a clue what the hell I’m doing. But knowing that I’ve taken advantage of all Penn has to offer, and especially all that the DP has given me, makes me feel good about what the next chapter has in store.

I’m not one for really dramatic goodbyes, so let’s wrap this up.

To all the DPers present and future, I hope you find the same home in the DP that I have and always remember that what you do matters.

To those I call friend, you inspire me every day.

To my family, words do no justice for the gratitude I have for your undying support.

And to everyone that happens to come across this and has reached the end, I will share the most important thing I’ve learned throughout this journey: to love unconditionally is the most powerful form of progress. Love what you do, love yourself, and love others.

TAYLOR CULLIVER is a Wharton senior from Bay Minette, Ala. He is a former advertising manager, innovation lab director, and president and executive editor. His email address is

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