Like any incoming college student, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Due to the pandemic, I was stuck at home in my first year navigating college through Zoom calls and constantly looking at a screen. I felt very disconnected from UCR and the “college experience” that is typically so hyped up. 

Regardless, while taking my first college English class, I had the opportunity to write a review analysis paper on Ariana Grande’s fifth studio album, “thank u, next.” As a result, I had so much fun looking into the album and decoding the songs and lyrics that I searched for resources that would explore a similar outlet. After discovering The Highlander, I instantly took an interest in writing for the newspaper, particularly for the Radar section. 

When I first started at The Highlander, I was nervous about many things such as the people I would meet, if my writing would be good enough and what exactly I would write about. Eventually, as time went on, I gained my stride and found more confidence in my writing skills. I took up pieces that interested me and got me to venture outside of my comfort zone. Writing for Radar allowed me to delve deeper into the arts and entertainment world in ways that would typically go over my head. I became more open to looking at other points of view and opinions on various pieces. 

From being a contributing writer to becoming the Assistant Radar Editor in my fourth year, I was able to take advantage of the many opportunities that the newspaper had to offer. I found passion in writing due to the creative freedom that The Highlander has provided me. Thanks to the newspaper I was able to write pieces that I was genuinely proud of. 

From covering ASPB concerts and events to writing think pieces that challenged me in the best way, I came to enjoy the writing process. Additionally, starting the “On the Radar” podcast with Brendan has been one of my biggest highlights at The Highlander. During these podcasts, Brendan and I discussed many topics related to Radar while also having fun. We started a project together that I can look back on with fond memories. 

Besides the growth and opportunities I experienced, I will never forget the people and time I spent with The Highlander. From the first awkward writers meeting I attended to sitting at the big table with other staff members as we laughed at the most random things, I never expected to find myself here. I will miss the gossiping sessions in the Radar office and the hypothetical questions we’d ask each other at the front desk. 

As I say goodbye to The Highlander, I am proud to look back at my time and feel accomplished in everything I did. I will greatly miss the friendships and memories I made along the way. I will never forget the joys of completing an article and seeing it published in a physical newspaper. Thank you to The Highlander and its people for helping me get to where I am today and making a big impact on my college memories. <3