NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion's opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Well, this is it, ya’ll.

This will be my last issue of The Vermilion ever. It’s been real.

After three years of working at this paper, I’ve done everything: From reporting to building and updating the website to designing the layout and running the whole damn thing. It’s been an absolute blast.

These last two semesters have been rough. I’ve grown and learned so much in this past year.

There’s so many things I can think of that I could say I would have wanted to do, but honestly, I wouldn’t have done a thing differently. Being in charge of the student newspaper of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has been an incredible learning experience, an honor, a pleasure, a privilege — all that and more.

I have so many people to thank.

Jessica Manafi, you’ve been my rock. You were my lieutenant, always willing to help me in any way I needed. You wore a stack of hats by the end of my tenure, but I’ll always remember you for one in particular: a true friend.

Given what little seniority we came in with, I think we kicked a lot of butt. And a lot of that has been driven by my successor, Holly Duchmann. One of my first hires, you were a constant reminder of why I took this job on in the first place. When I was disheartened or lost my will, you were an engine of passion that fired me right back up. You were my cheerleader, and I don’t think I’d be where I am now without you. You and the staff are going to do amazing things together. Don’t lose that fire.

Jordan Arceneaux took the entire sports section of The Vermilion under his wing, and ran with it. You did a stellar job lifting that job off my shoulders, and you’ve grown so much as a journalist since we met in feature writing. And that was only a year ago. I can’t wait to see what you do as a professional.

I have to say, Devin Cochran, you have come a long way since you started. And that’s all because of you. Crafting raw passion into talent takes a lot of work, and you’ve done it. You’ll only get better. Your proven leadership and management skills, coupled with your personality, will accentuate your journalism skills in ways that will set you apart from the pack. Use that. A journalist with the people skills of a public relations person is a deadly, deadly journalist.

Kailey Broussard, you’ve wowed me from day one. I wish I could say I had a hand in your growth, but you’ve killed it right out the gate. I personally believe, if you keep going at the rate you’re going, you’re going to be the greatest journalism student to come out of this program and The Vermilion. Your ambition has been amazing, taking everything I throw at you and always asking for more. You dove headfirst into SGA and have covered the student government just like the old days. Mike would be proud. As a former SGA reporter, I know I am.

There were things we could have done better, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Sure, we made mistakes. But every newspaper makes mistakes, and what's important is that we didn’t make the same mistake twice. At least I think we didn’t. If I went back and corrected those mistakes, I would have just made them in the professional world. And that chance to mess up without much repercussion is invaluable in the world of journalism, where you barter on the trust in your name alone.

There have been times as editor-in-chief when I’ve thought I couldn’t do it anymore, but my staff kept pushing me forward, and I can’t thank them enough.


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