Every Wednesday and every Monday, I sit down at the table in the office that lives behind the hair salon downstairs in the Memorial Union. At least, that’s how we tell people they can find it.
Whether I’m the first one in the door (I’m seldom these days) or the last, I know the lower left corner will be open for me. I call it my “crust,” and the editors leave it open for me time and time again.
This is certainly not the last table I will sit at with a group of friends and co-workers. I will grow to find another unofficial assigned seat at a table somewhere in the universe after I leave the University of Rhode Island. And I’ll probably have to find a few more after that one, too. But my seat — my designated seat in the Cigar office — it’ll go down in my history books as the first.
But really, the journey wasn’t that easy. It started eight semesters ago, sitting in the corner on one of the couches that are a bit too soft and definitely too faded, with me, hoping no one would take too much notice I was there. Get in, get stories, write them, get out.
I’ve said it time and time again — I walked into the Cigar as a freshman English major who just wanted to write. I had no journalism experience and no desire to be a journalism major, but that changed fast.
I thought I would be a contributing reporter forever — and I would have been fine with that, really, but I cannot believe I’m here, writing a goodbye column after three semesters contributing, two semesters staff and in my third semester as news editor.
I would never have gotten here without the unwavering support of my family — Mom, Dad and Sophia, thank you for listening to every crazy experience I’ve had and for being there through any story — exciting or grueling. I love you and I am who I am because of you.
Thank you to all of the editors who came before me and guided me in the Cigar in any position. Thank you to Ian Weiner for making me take my first story, Theresa Brown for encouraging me to run for staff (I never would have without you) and Kate LeBlanc for literally teaching me AP style and what the inverted triangle is. You’re a real one for that.
Thank you to anyone I’ve worked with as staff or on an e-board with in the past, including, but certainly not limited to Kayla Laguerre-Lewis, Imani Fleming, Aniekan Okon, Kyle Standing, Erin Brown, Jenny Kang, Jason Phillips, Adam Zangari and Leah Popovic.
To our current e-board — Jenny Arnold, Molly Cronin, Nils Fimmers, David Broccoli, Nathan Robillard, Alexa Potamianos and Aidan Cahill — you all never fail to bring a smile to my face no matter how late the night. You’re a fantastic group — one of the best I’ve ever had the honor to work with — and I’m so glad I stuck around for one more semester to spend it with you. I wouldn’t trade all the extra free time in the world.
To Claudia Stepien, it’s been an honor to work with you this past semester — I wish we could have gotten more time together. I know you’re going to do amazing things, I can feel it in my bones (and that should mean something since we’re the same person).
To Juliana Lepore, the little sister I never thought I’d have — and never knew I wanted — I love you and I’m so proud of everything you’ve achieved. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to bond with in my first semesters figuring this whole thing out. Since I won’t be there every day to tell you — take a deep breath. You’re doing amazing. See you in August for 5SOS.
And to the little brother I never thought I’d have, Ronan Himelrick, I think you said it best last election night — “look how far we’ve come.” I’m so glad all the things you’ve worked for came true. It’s been amazing to see you grow into all you’ve wanted to be. Thank you for all the laughs and love. Let’s go to the party!
And of course, I had to end with Maddie Bataille. Two years ago you were the cool girl in Journalism 341, one year ago you were my best friend and now you’re my roommate and my family. I don’t know how I made it 21 years before I met you, but I know there’s no going forward without you from here. This is far from the end for us. I’d sit next to you at every table.
The Cigar is weird and wonderful — it’s full of opportunities you never thought possible — and they’re all waiting for anyone who walks in our doors just as much as they were waiting for me. So do it — even if you’re scared. Go to a meeting. They’re 6 p.m. on Mondays.
I guess that’s it. I’ve given you my all, Cigar. I’ve got nothing left to leave behind. I hope what I’ve left stays with you for a long, long time.