Sitting in Scott Chapel with warm lights flooding the room and a flurry of overly sentimental thoughts dancing in the fog of my mind, I feel as though I’m narrating the end of my very own coming-of-age film.
As a freshman, I always imagined how this moment would feel. Writing my last Talon article and preparing for graduation seemed like a foreign concept many light-years away. Yet, here we are.
I imagined reading my old articles, reminiscing over interesting interviews and laughing about countless memories made in the office. I imagined ending this quintessential chapter of my life with an interminable sense of excitement at the prospect of entering the adult world.
I imagined I would be ready to say goodbye.
But right now, as I sit in front of my computer screen blinded by blue light, praying for the right thoughts to enter my brain and spill effortlessly onto this semi-blank page, I realize “goodbye” is an elusive concept.
How can a person say goodbye to memories, words and friendships meant to last forever?
From working as the assistant photography editor, lead reporter, assistant news editor, news editor, opinions editor and finally as an editor-in-chief, the Talon undoubtedly formed my college experience. Though not every article was perfect and not every deadline was kept, the daily grind of the Talon cultivated a certain brand of discipline and drive that is not easy to find.
I originally entered the field of journalism because of an incessant desire to advocate for truth and justice through my words. While my ambitions to change the world with the stroke of a pen may have been slightly naive, I learned to say what I believe, even when I didn’t feel smart or brave enough. I learned that words have the power to mend and destroy, and to use them with an abundance of caution.
To members of the Oklahoma Christian community: I challenge you to use your words kindly and to consider how your actions affect those of every race, gender and religion.
To all current and future members of the Talon: I challenge you to keep writing hard stories and sharing the perspectives of those who are heard the least. Elevate the voices of the voiceless.
After writing 156 articles and interviewing more people than I can count, I can only say I am filled with gratitude.
I would like to say thank you Dr. Patterson for believing in me from the time I was a senior in high school and throughout my college career. No one has pushed me harder, challenged me more, or forced me to think as much as you have.
To Maggie, Madison and Keaton: thank you for inspiring me to become a better reporter, and eventually an editor-in-chief.
To Errett, Morgan, Reese, Paige, Maria and every friend I’ve made throughout this crazy journey: I’ll miss our office debates, complaining about deadlines, and putting out fires (literally and metaphorically). We’ve covered some difficult topics, but I couldn’t imagine working through these moments with anyone else.
To Caleb: it has been an honor to serve alongside you. You’ve constantly encouraged me to grow as a journalist and as a leader. While I’m sad to see our time as a dual-threat come to an end, I know you’re going to do a great job leading the paper next semester.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has read my articles over the years. To everyone who encouraged me as I attempted to tackle difficult topics, you have no idea how much your words continue to impact me. Thank you.
The Talon provided me with a platform and allowed me to find a voice I did not know I had. From waking up to a hundred notifications after writing about the lack of diverse professors at Oklahoma Christian, to writing about homelessness in Oklahoma City, I will forever cherish every interview, article and word written for this incredible publication.