The denouement

I have waited four years to write this column. And yet, after all that thinking, I still don’t know what my denouement is supposed to look like.

I have waited four years to write this column. I have thought about it too often on walks home, in the shower, lying in bed and whenever I had free time, and my mind wandered toward the unavoidable end of my college experience. And yet, after all that thinking, I still don’t know what my denouement is supposed to look like.

Let me roll it back a little. I’m an English major, through and through. In English classes, you are often tasked with analyzing literature, and through my numerous college-mandated analyses, I’ve found that I have a fascination with the denouement, or “the unknotting.” The denouement occurs when every plot thread comes together to show how a story is meant to unravel. It’s similar to a story’s resolution; think of Harry, Hermione and Ron standing on the bridge after the Battle of Hogwarts. That’s a denouement.

But how am I supposed to neatly unknot all of these threads? Berkeley Sakura Cannestra, the character, has certainly had a lot of development. College has been a series of so many subplots that wrapping it all up will be difficult. Let’s see if I can do it in the 600 or so words I have left.

Freshman year, I joined The Daily Californian, which would slowly become my life. Thank you to Malini, Sydney, Fionce and everyone else in the fall 2016 news department’s hiring class of general assignment, or GA, reporters for being some of my first familiar faces at UC Berkeley. We really were the best GAs to have ever GA’ed.

Of course, work isn’t everything. Thank you to Brij, Justice and everyone else in the Putnam Posse who made sure I knew what “fun” meant. Thanks for my first shot of Jack Daniel’s, my first dorm party and for continuing to invite me to things even after my introversion began to show. I’m a little averse to the concept of parties, but I’ve never felt out of place whenever I’m with you all, whether we’re in Oregon, Putnam Hall or in your apartment. Thanks for letting me go to QT Pie with you even when you found out I don’t eat pie.

My free time was cut down drastically in summer 2018 when I decided to be a head editor at the good ol’ Daily Cal. Frankie, Rev, thanks for everything. Thank you for being the best editing team. Running to Target at midnight after closing, sprinting to Brewed Awakening in the split seconds before a budget meeting, editing my 20-inch briefs — nothing would have gotten done that semester without you two carrying my body across the finish line. I’ll never forget how much we made each other laugh, along with Nick, who also deserves a thank-you for teaching me how to be unabashedly sassy. You all kept me sane when I truly thought that I would fall apart.

Finding friends in college is hard, but no one tells you how hard it is to keep the friends you had before. Thank you to Kira and Kristen for keeping me tethered to the past. Summer and winter breaks were spent window-shopping at Japanese stationery stores and rereading 2013 fanfictions. Thank you, Kira, for sitting on top of the play structure at the elementary school with me, shooting the s— while we both tried to figure everything out.

Pulling me out of my work regimen is always a tall order, especially for someone so wary of the intensive energy required by parties. In the comfort of my sophomore home in Martinez Commons, though, I met Spencer, Annie, Ryan, Sheyda and Sarah, and I have to say thank you for reminding me how to have comfortable fun. Between regularly getting destroyed at Settlers of Catan to now running a small Dungeons & Dragons campaign, I don’t think I would have figured out my love for gaming. While I might never actually win a game of Catan, I’m glad I do get to say that I won a better prize: friendship.

My tasks at the Daily Cal didn’t finish in 2018, though. I took on an even bigger role in my senior year and, well, overseeing more than hundreds of articles per week is objectively hard. To Soofie, Kaitlan and Josh, thank you. You showed me how to be a leader and how to hold strong. You showed me how to place a newspaper, cover a football game and pour a good screwdriver. This year would not have been nearly as successful nor memorable without you helping to lead this organization.

Thank you to my parents for supporting me and for sending me back to Berkeley with more Tonkatsu than I could ever finish alone. I love you. And shout out to 12-year-old Berkeley. She didn’t think she would be a journalist. Hell, she didn’t really think she would be cut out to be a writer, but what a change that’s been. I love you, too, and I’m so proud of you.

First comes the recognition of every subplot. I don’t want to leave any loose ends, not in this story. This end is just the beginning of another, and after college, there is another chapter and another story.

I take every thread of story that has run through this four-year journey and I unravel the strings. I untie the knot.

Sakura Cannestra was the 2019-20 managing editor. She joined The Daily Californian in fall 2016 as a news reporter and was the lead student government beat reporter in spring 2017, a higher education beat reporter in fall 2017, assistant news editor in spring 2018 and executive news editor in summer 2018. She served as chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in fall 2018. She is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and minors in creative writing and in history.