Of course, my title is going to be a Taylor Swift song, but that was predictable. It’s been over two years since I started writing for the Highlander. To be frank, I did it on a whim. A lot of the things I’ve become involved in and my career path are made up of things I decided on a whim and then doubled down on because that whim turned out to be right. A lot of my life experience, especially the last four years, felt like it was down to chance.

Now that I’m graduating, it’s bittersweet. I’m more than ready to move on from this chapter. There are also parts of this experience, of my entire undergraduate experience, that I don’t know how to let go of. The last four years have given me so much when it came to learning and growth. It took a lot from me, too. The things it took from me are where I learned the most, though. When I struggled to keep up or had a misstep that took me off the right path, putting it back together again was where I learned the most. The Highlander is a place where I was challenged the most, lost the most and learned the most.

I’ll be forever grateful for the people I’ve worked with during my time here, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the lessons they taught me. I’m grateful to those who supported me and respected me. Specifically, I want to thank the previous Opinions Editor, Amaray Alvarez, for never treating me like an assistant and always like a peer. I don’t think she knows how that meant to me. I want to thank the staff this year for all of their hard work and for being who they are. I’m so proud of each of them for all that they have done here and everything that they are going to do. Lastly, to the best Assistant Opinions Editor I could have asked for, Cecile! I’m so glad I didn’t have to do all of this alone, and I had someone capable and trustworthy to rely on. The Opinion section is in the best hands I could possibly think of.

I am most thankful to my family. My parents are my foundation; without them, I would not be here. Without them, I don’t think I would be anything. To my little sister, who always fights with me and for me. And to my baby brother, who will always be my baby brother. They propped me up when I failed and when nothing was left of me. They sat with me late at night when I was finishing articles, editing and reading an endless stream of emails. This job has been one of the highlights of my academic career, and that is because of their love and unwavering support. 

This is the end of something that defined me and made up who I was. Now it’s time to put the pieces back together and find out who I am. Thank you to The Highlander for being a piece.