Staff sign-off: Anya Shcherbakova

Illustration by Sarah Butler
Illustration by Sarah Butler
Illustration by Sarah Butler

In August, throughout the week prefacing the onslaught of this semester, Anya Shcherbakova and I put together the first issue of the CT.

It was a harrowing experience.

The ugly process consumed the better part of our last week of summer. We interrupted ourselves only for brief visits to the toilet, our bedrooms and the floor of the Student Media Center to sleep, or sob quietly with some shambled semblance of dignity.

The CT’s only other returning graphic designer, Miranda, had undergone spontaneous jaw surgery. Our two novice lovelies, Sarah and Ashley, had no idea what the hell they were doing yet, and the first issue of the semester was no place to teach them how to “newspaper” up to our Type-A standards on deadline.

Alas, Anya and I toiled away — me furiously editing, writing and rewriting copy spawned from the lethargic brains and unpracticed fingers of staff dispersed across the country savoring their last moments of summer vacation, work and internship obligations.

Hence, Anya (an angel, really) very much single-handedly designed the entire 10-page inaugural issue of the CT, Vol. 57, No. 1.

And that is how the haggard shells of two formerly-vibrant, if not shamefully naive, souls left the VCU Student Media Center somewhere around 4 a.m. the Monday of Welcome Week. As rowdy returning students speckled Broad street, Anya and I silently agreed to never, ever return to the dreaded windowless abyss of the CT production room.

But we did.

Week after week (for fifteen weeks) we found ourselves inside the office during productions for the CT and INK, at all hours of the night (and ass-crack of dawn) sweating through homework, projects and, on one occasion, maniacal fits of laughter alongside the other designers because we thought the computer monitors were talking to us.

There have been times I quite literally dragged Anya away from the vestiges of crashed servers and Adobe’s Awful Attitude 2.0 (not yet available on Creative Cloud), and yet she always persevered.

And while I sometimes wonder whether a hamster doomed to the tenth circle of Hamster Hell secretly runs on a graphic-design-wheel inside Anya, I have so much respect for her unwavering work ethic, diligence and ability to keep moving her fingers freakishly fast across the keyboard despite blatant signs of brain-damaging sleep deprivation.

The CT, and entire Student Media Center, will miss Anya dearly. Her undying devotion to the Design Den, her red beanie hat and bicycle, cheeky humor, adorable giggle and icy glare (meaning “get your shit together NOW”) could never be replaced in quite the same way. She is the stuff of Sagal Hassan and Sam Wittwer SMC-designer-legends.

Anya is the only staff member who was sorted into Slytherin, but nobody holds it against her because she is loyal like the best of Hufflepuffs and more cunning than a purebred Ravenclaw. So really, Anya probably only got Slytherin because Harry Potter was almost a Slytherin, and Anya’s basically like Harry Potter except less pompous and annoying.

Anya is the best companion to laugh-cry and eat Hershey’s chocolate bars with. She has been the difference between purple-to-purple and purple-to-where-did-the-rest-of-the-copy-go. She has saved headlines and re-PDFed entire newspapers in the name of good design and tired editors not noticing Lorem Ipsum cutlines.

She will be sorely missed, and if she doesn’t want the coffee table she made for her woodworking class final (she says it looks like it was finished with “snot”), I will happily take it home with me and love it forever.

Anya, we all wish you the best moving forth into your sparkling future and hope you’ll return to see us soon; love you always and remember it’ll be “o—k.”

With love,

Sarah King, the CT + SMC

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