One of the drawbacks of graduating in December is how quickly things sneak up on you. For instance, this issue being my last with The Good 5 Cent Cigar was something I didn’t have on my mind until a few weeks ago.

When I started writing for the Cigar, none of my friends from outside the journalism department knew I wrote for it or even knew that the school had a newspaper. Now, it seems to be the first thing anyone talks to me about, including people I knew from high school.

The paper has seen something of a renaissance in campus. I’ve seen more people reading the paper this semester than I ever have in the past and more parents picking up copies on tours or during open house weekends.

I transferred from the Community College of Rhode Island and had written for its newspaper, the Unfiltered Lens. My work for that paper was mostly music reviews, and I figured I could do the same thing for the Cigar. However, I was not sure if I wanted to write for another paper so soon, especially one that had such a large staff and had the history that the Cigar had. I ultimately decided to go to one meeting just to see what it was like.

Now it’s two and a half years and 105 issues later, and I am graduating as the entertainment editor. Humorously, in all that time, this farewell editorial is the only time my byline will have ever appeared outside of the entertainment section. Once I really got into writing for the Cigar, I wound up writing fewer album reviews. In two and a half years, I think I’ve written about as many album reviews for the Cigar as I did for the Lens in six months.

I’ve reviewed concerts, interviewed celebrities and covered a vibrant local music scene. The stories I’ve covered have ranged from open mic nights and violin recitals to concerts at the Thomas M. Ryan Center and interviews with famous comedians.

I leave my fellow journalism majors, freshmen and seniors alike, with a piece of advice. If you’re not contributing to the Cigar now, you should do so immediately. Allison Farrelly, the editor-in-chief, always says that the Cigar is the most underutilized tool for journalism students. She’s right. Writing for the Cigar, you can apply the skills you learn in class to articles that will be read by the entire campus.

Even now, I still get a bit of a rush from seeing my byline in print, be it in the Cigar, South County Life or the other publications I have written for. I’ll miss writing and editing for this paper. I’ll miss the editorial staff and everyone I have met during my time here. Wherever I land as a writer, I will not forget my time with this publication. It’s been real.