I have to admit: it’s not easy saying goodbye.
After having devoted three of my four college years to the Northern Iowan (NI) and spending countless hours covering events, writing film reviews and diving deep into the rabbit hole that is AP style, it’s admittedly surreal to see it all coming to an end.
It goes without saying, but the past year that I’ve served as executive editor of the NI has undoubtedly been the most challenging, rewarding and memorable year of my life thus far.
It’s because of my experiences at the NI and, more importantly, the influence of my fellow journalists alongside me that I now feel more prepared than I ever thought possible to take on the “real world” after I graduate in little over a week.
So, as is the case with most farewell letters of this nature, I think it’d be appropriate to recognize those people in my life who have had the greatest impact on me at the NI over the past three years.
First, but certainly not least, is Nick Fisher.
I remember first applying to be a film critic for the NI in the fall semester of my sophomore year, only for Nick, then-executive editor, to steer me towards news writing.
Three years, 100 published stories and a handful of editorial positions later, and I can’t thank Nick enough for being the catalyst for my wildly unpredictable ride at the NI.
So, thank you, Nick, for being the mentor I needed and the friend I was fortunate enough to have.
Next, I would be remiss to not include Iris “The Wiz” Frasher in my long list of thank you’s.
Iris, as art director, you created a new level of excellence for photography and graphic design at the NI, and, more importantly, you’ve been a truly positive presence in my life, for which I cannot thank you enough.
To my current fellow editors: I know it’s been a long, demanding year together, but I want to thank each and every one of you for always being up to the challenge to take the NI’s reporting to new heights.
So, to Sierra, Jacob, Leziga, Josh, Dylan and Gabby: thank you for being the best staff this “boss-man” could have ever asked for. Your individual work ethic has inspired me to be better, and I have no doubt that all of you will find great success in whatever you choose to pursue at UNI and beyond.
To Sydney, my successor: I’m fully confident that you will excel next year as executive editor and continue to improve the NI’s reputation and legacy.
Take pride in knowing that you have the skill set necessary to succeed, as well as an incredibly dedicated and hardworking staff at your side to take on whatever challenges that may come your way next year.
To Laura and Michele: you’ve both been instrumental in my success as executive editor this year, and the advice you’ve given me over these past nine months (and, indeed, these past three years) have helped shape me into the journalist, leader and human being that I am today.
So, thank you, both (and thank you, Michele, for the free lunches!).
Lastly, I want to express my deepest appreciation for Nicole Baxter, the best confidant, partner and friend I have or will ever have.
Throughout this past year, you’ve always been there for me to pick me up when I’ve felt lost, scared or unsure. Colee, you’ve made my time as executive editor (and my final year here at UNI) the most enjoyable, meaningful and life-affirming year of my life. I love you.
Now, before I sign off and walk out of that newsroom for the last time, I want to extend my most sincere thanks to you, the readers.
Without you, there simply wouldn’t be an NI, and it has been your continued support and interest in the campus newspaper — as well as your criticisms and complaints, let’s be honest — that have driven the entire NI staff to push ourselves harder to deliver the most in-depth, accurate and objective campus news coverage possible.
It’s not easy saying goodbye. To be sure, it’s often difficult to recognize and accept the fact that a formative chapter in one’s life is suddenly coming to an end.
However, I can take comfort in the knowledge that this newspaper that I’ve grown to love so much is in good hands.
Rest assured, I will be happy to watch from afar as the legacy of the NI continues to grow and the intrepid spirit of student journalists at this university inevitably drives the desire to have all voices on this campus be heard — and listened to.