It’s Monday, May 2, at 2:30 a.m. and I’ve just finished the final paper of my college career. After scrambling together the last 3,000 words I had in me, I now find myself sitting here having to write my farewell column for The Nevada Sagebrush and I’m speechless. Who do I thank? What do I write about? Who should I mention?
This isn’t an acceptance speech for the Academy Awards, Nicole; let’s not be so dramatic. In all honesty, the only people who will actually read this anyway are my parents, most of the Sagebrush staff, and one or two Facebook friends if I even post it. With that eloquent introduction, here’s what I have to say about my last four years.
Starting my college journey at the University of Nevada, Reno, in fall 2012 was typical. One minute I felt like a badass college student, and the next I felt like a timid freshman who can’t make their way around Cain Hall. My best friend and roommate at the time, Sara Hanafi, and I wanted nothing more than to make friends with everyone in our dorm and go to awesome college parties. So naturally, neither of those things happened. Instead, we did things like spending our Valentine’s Day stopping at four fast food restaurants to make the ultimate a la carte style munchie meal and climbing to the roof of Morrill Hall at midnight.
As fun as we made our freshman year, the real story begins the moment I decided to volunteer for The Nevada Sagebrush. I came into college from what I considered was the best high school experience I could have had, and that was mainly due to the newspaper staff I was a part of. I figured if working on a newspaper made me happy, then why not do it again?
I met with former editor Ben Miller, and little did I know my fate was set. Within two months of volunteering, I had already moved up to my dream position of being the design editor and four years later I’m still proud to be putting together the oldest student-run newspaper in Nevada every week.
From miserably late deadlines to unforgettable “Sager Ragers,” the newspaper has easily been the most important part of my college career. Sure, classes made me a little smarter and internships helped me gain real-world experience, but my time with the Sagebrush has honestly been the most eye-opening and genuinely enjoyable thing to happen in my life thus far.
I’ve met some of my closest friends on staff and made unforgettable memories that, if I had the opportunity to, I would experience all over again in a heartbeat. Between fan-girling over Harry Potter with Megan Ortiz, late-night Zumba on the football field with Alex Mosher, non-stop bickering with Kenny Bissett, listening to “Boys, Boys, Boys” on repeat with Chris Boline, and pretending to like Eric Uribe’s weekly Kanye West references, I’d say I’ve seen nearly every walk of life come through this office.
While I clearly did more with my life than live in the Sagebrush office — despite what many may believe or have seen — with only 700 words to articulate the best of my college experience, the Sagebrush takes the cake.
Of course I’ll miss those late night study sessions for a test I already knew I was going to fail, and the one-hour breaks where I attempted to catch up on the 900 pages of reading I hadn’t done.
What I’m honestly going to miss are the opportunities to dive myself into campus culture and interact with people who are open to new ideas (and all the free food, of course). I keep hearing that the real world is full of close-minded people who hate self-entitled millennials. While there’s nothing that makes me want to take another college class for as long as I live, there’s also nothing worse than leaving and not having any idea what’s going to happen next.
While I’m not trying to calculate my 10-year plan like my dearest roommate, Kyler Lund, or “relaaaxxx” like my brother, Michael Kowalewski, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m nervous for what happens next. I know I’ll figure it out eventually, but if I could get a 3×5 cheat sheet to scribble on, that’d be much appreciated.
And so I’ll end with this:
To the past Sagebrush staff, you are all an inspiration. I’m ecstatic to have met and/or worked with those of you that I did and I can’t wait to call myself Sagebrush alumnus. Let’s make that happen soon, Amy Beck.
To the current Sagebrush staff, you are all awesome sauce. The newspaper turn-up will remain strong as long as Terrance Bynum is in the house and Beyonce is blasting from his office.
To the future Sagebrush staff, your first “Sager Rager” is always a shit show. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
And just like that, it’s all over.
Nicole Kowalewski studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.