I remember walking into the office of The Good 5 Cent Cigar for the very first time my sophomore year, waiting to be assigned my very first story. I was scared. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to be a print journalist. I’ve wanted to be a broadcast journalist ever since I was a young girl, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. Now, I’m here, three years and 91 articles later, writing for the Cigar one last time.

At that moment in time, I never would have thought that the Cigar would have as significant of an impact on my college career as it did. I look back now on my three years covering the campus community and I can honestly say it was one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had during my time at the University of Rhode Island.

As my final semester of college comes to a close, it’s time for me to say goodbye to not just this publication, but also a university that has taught me so much. Just a few short weeks after graduation, I will begin my professional career as a multimedia journalist at WMBF News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. However, my future in broadcasting would not have been possible without the experiences I had here at URI.

After joining the Cigar my sophomore year and becoming comfortable with writing print articles, I wondered how I could expand the type of format the newspaper produced. I approached the editorial staff who allowed me to go forward with producing my stories in a video package format. Fast forward to my internship during my junior year at WJAR in Providence, another valuable experience, where I spent nine months. In March of 2016, I took the experiences from my internship and began producing a weekly newscast for the Cigar, 5 Cent Cigar News.

I can’t thank the students, faculty and staff of this campus enough for not only opening up to me as a journalist, but allowing me to be a voice for them. It meant a lot to me that students who may be balancing five classes, extracurricular activities and a social life would take time out of their busy schedules to open up to a complete stranger and say what’s on their mind. I have so much gratitude for too many people to name. I want to thank the Cigar staff, the journalism department, the Harrington School of Communication and Media, the many faculty and staff that I have worked with and the professors who have taught me so much.

The best decision I ever made throughout my four years here was joining The Good 5 Cent Cigar. In an office where ideas flow freely and I’ve never been told “no” for a story idea I’ve pitched, I am so grateful to have been a part of such a great staff. I leave my fellow journalism majors with a piece of advice: keep thinking big, Rhody. The Cigar has grown incredibly as a publication since I first started, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next. As I graduate and move on to the next chapter of my life, I wish you all success and happiness in the next chapter of yours.