I’m mainly writing this as a letter to my past self in case I ever doubt the value of pursuing my passions. 

My journey with The Highlander began in my third year. Before that, I can’t say I had truly enjoyed my time at UCR. I was caught in a limbo between wanting to follow my dreams and actually taking action. My first two years of college were unremarkable, as I was merely going through the motions to earn my degree. However, in my third year, I decided to make a change and pursue writing and reporting about sports — something I had dreamed of since middle school but never had the courage to try.

In my two years at The Highlander, I have transformed completely from the person I was when I first joined as a contributing writer. At the start of my junior year, I lacked confidence in myself and my writing ability and was struggling personally, professionally and academically. Looking back now, I can confidently say that my time here has given me the courage and excitement to embrace this new chapter of my life as a graduate.

The best part of my time at The Highlander has undoubtedly been the people I’ve worked with, who have made my experience so wonderful. I remember my first writer’s meeting, where I saw Ysabel, the current Opinions Editor, whom I knew from high school. She and my lead editor, Hansel, helped me get started with my first article. Shortly after, Maddy, the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) at the time, gave me the opportunity to be the Assistant Sports Editor, a position current EIC Brenda allowed me to continue in. It was intimidating to move from writing to editing so quickly, but the incredible support from all the writers and editors made it possible. It would take too long to thank every single person who has impacted me during my time at The Highlander, and that speaks volumes to how amazing everyone is. I have formed lifelong friendships here, and I am deeply grateful for each one. To my Highlander family, thank you for everything.

I’m also grateful for the opportunities working at The Highlander has afforded me with KUCR and commentating on the basketball games. Following UCR Basketball by itself has been an incredible experience, and I am beyond thankful to athletic director, Wesley Mallette, and everyone at UCR sports for giving sports access to the teams.

I will miss the production days, the dinners and all the meetings we had. My Highlander family was a significant part of my college experience, and I am immensely grateful to have been part of such an amazing team and paper. It will always be a source of immense pride. Most of all, I will cherish the lessons I learned while working at The Highlander as I graduate in a few weeks.