Coming to Texas Tech, I was dead-set on being a nurse. In high school I went through all the health-oriented classes and even received my Certified Nurse’s Assistant certification to prepare for it.

I knew the medical field would bring me stability, financial relief and instant approval from my family, but I worried it would bring boredom.

Fast forward to my freshman orientation pre-nursing seminar where I sat in the back of the room with my parents. An overwhelming fear of living a life I never truly wanted in the first place came over me, and I immediately whispered to my family, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

As my mom inappropriately, but understandably, whisper-yelled at me while my father sat in awe, we made the decision to leave and speak with an adviser.

He asked me about my passions and what my ideal career would look like if I could paint it all into one large yet messy picture. After our conversation, I changed my major to journalism right then and there.

I thought that was all for life-changing moments of the day, but little did I know.

The next thing he did was show me to the front doors of The Daily Toreador. He led me here, and I had no idea I had just walked into my home away from home for the first time.

This newsroom has given me more than I could ever put into one farewell column, but I guess I can try.

Looking back at these past few years as one of the youngest staffers here (ironically a DT dinosaur when I first arrived) I have learned more than I ever could have in a classroom. These people have seen qualities in me that I didn’t know were there, nurtured them, have given me confidence and contributed to a massive part of who I am.

I am so grateful for the people who have believed in me more than I could’ve ever believed in myself.

These people are my family.

Every Wednesday night putting the paper together for the next day until 10 p.m., road trips, documenting Tech history and sweet sleeplessness has brought me memories that I hold closer to my heart than most.

As I sit here typing away in The DT conference room with tears streaming down my face, I don’t know if I ever realized how much this place meant to me until this moment.

So, I’ll leave with some thank you’s and advice before I cause water damage to my MacBook.

To my former boss, Justin Rex, and the future editor-in-chief, Austin Watts, you two truly changed the course of my life.

Justin, you taught me everything I know about this job. I walked in these doors petrified of looking dumb because I didn’t know how to work a camera and over a few semesters you gave me the confidence and knowledge to eventually become the editor after you.

Austin, you saw something in me to be an editor even when I definitely did not and continued to make me feel valued and talented. After a little bit of coercion and “accidentally” emailing me the application, you led me to one of the best decisions I have ever made.

To all of the editors I have worked with this past year, your talent and hard work amazes and inspires me every day. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of you.

To my staff, thank you for allowing me to guide you and build the multimedia family I knew was possible. Each one of you hold so much talent it’s unfair, and you have taught me more than I could have ever taught you. Always remember to hold your head as high as possible and let no one speak down to you.

You are valuable and gifted and worthy of entering any room you walk into. Like I always say, act confident and no one will question you.

If you are lucky enough to work here one day, I hope you learn like I did that it’s so much more than a job. You will cherish every single laugh, piece of advice, DT watch party, night of exhaustion that turns to delusion and everything in between.

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