That's not to say that my life will end at 22, as I walk out the door of The Reflector office on Friday after I turn in my keys. Or after I give my speech (that I still haven't written yet) at the banquet Saturday.
But, when I first took over editor in chief in 2011, I felt like I had so much time to do so many things and conquer the journalism world. And I've accomplished a lot of goals and faced down more lawsuit threats than any one person should.
I covered the first on campus shooting in Mississippi State's history. I followed the story of a kidnapping hoax on my 21st birthday. I wrote about Greek stereotypes and student apathy toward the Student Association. I wrote a feature article on the beloved Starkville business, Strangebrew, and had great fun doing it. I even sat in the press box at Davis Wade. And those are only a few of my memories writing for The Reflector.
Last year, I helped defend our right and decision to publish a sex column. (I cannot tell you how many tweets/emails/horrified phone calls I got from this.) I also discovered that some people will be more offended by a typo in the sports section than said sex column.
I debated ethical concerns over articles using anonymous sources with our adviser and staff members.
I survived planning one banquet last year, and hopefully I'll survive planning this one as well.
Somehow, as a freshman, I was hired to be entertainment editor. I wrote and planned stories and learned how much I hated reading fashion columns without legitimate sources. And I got to write a sports story (technically, it was a face-off about what was more important: the actual Super Bowl game or the half-time show and commercials). But, eventually, I wrote legitimate sports stories.
I even learned how to understand a football game.
I've traveled to Louisville, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Martin, Tenn.
And admist all of the work and stress and fun, I've made friends. Some of my best friends have come from the four staffs on which I've served, especially the 2012-2013 editorial board. We've made memories together, and they've supported me throughout good times and bad.
But now, I only have three normal work days left with them. And soon, we'll be saying goodbye and life will change. I'm happy it happened, it's time to move on, and the end of the newspaper is not the end of my friendships. And, these people are some of the most important people in my life.
They've taught me how to be a better person, how to be a better teacher, how to be a better writer, how to be a better editor, and so much more.
I'm finishing my last new article now. (At least, the last one I'm obligated to write.) And I'm sitting at my desk on last Wednesday. And tonight I'll run my last meeting.
But just as it's ending for me, it's beginning for so many new editors and writers. Someone else will come in and experience the joy I have had and will write stories worth telling about. Because The Reflector is a special place full of opportunity and wonder where anyone with potential can develop. And it'll be better than when I left it. And I'll be proud to have been part of something so wonderful.