There are moments in life that you know are inevitable well in advance, yet no amount of time can prepare you for.
Graduating from The Houstonian is not one of those moments.
After four years, my time as a member of The Houstonian staff is coming to a close and I find myself at a crossroads. It is a truly bittersweet moment; the very job that I am leaving behind is what has taught me how to bow out gracefully and pursue new challenges.
As I have gone from being a green freshman with nothing but the pride of a byline for payment to eventually becoming the head of a college campus empire (or so we like to think), I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of wonderful people who make The Houstonian the lovable, laughable publication we all know and enjoy. Without them, I would never have become the mentally corrupt workaholic I am today. For that, I would like to say a few thank you’s.
Rachael, you asked me if I would tear up when I wrote this and I said no. I lied. You have become my best friend since the moment we met at the scholarship banquet and realized you knew my boyfriend Dennis five years before I did. We got hit on by a legendary Mass Communications professor that day and enjoyed food we didn’t pay for – I can’t think of a better way to start a friendship than with free money and free food. You’ve taught me so much about friendship, writing, reporting and all things vulgar, obscene or offensive and I will always treasure the time we spent together. I wish I had more space to write about everything we’ve done and laughed about together, but I guess the best way to sum it all up is this: Blonde Takeover, YES WE CAN!
Brad, I never thought you and I would be the last ones standing but here we are. Your dedication to your faith and God is something I admire about you and probably don’t tell you about quite enough. Your taste in women is something that is constantly evolving and never ceases to keep me entertained. I want to thank you for all the times you gave me advice — the good, the bad and the unsavory — and all of the times you forced me to listen to your weird Brazilian music. I am sure it will come in handy some day. Keep up your writing and you will go far. Always remember how much God loves you and don’t forget to stay mad, Brad.
Kristle, ever since you left I have missed your maternal presence and your wise words coming from the corner as you slaved away to get us out of the red. Our balance sheets and Brad’s work ethic have missed you as well. I am glad I had the honor of working with you and learning from you.
Jessica, you are a Longhorn now and for that I will never forgive you (neither will Sammy, I presume). I suppose your kindness and generosity help make up for it. Your impact on The Houstonian and the demand for sweet tea in Huntsville will never be matched. If you ever need to laugh at someone or feel like teaing yourself, give me a call.
Bryan, since you left the staff last year for graduation the office has been significantly quieter and vastly less offensive. You have given me a lifetime of memories, from the awkward positions you assumed on my desk while asking permission to print something unprintable to the wildly creative insults you managed to come up with that offend every human being on earth in some form or fashion. I wish you the best of luck as a Sooner next semester and hope to have the honor of seeing your stylish cowboy boots walk through my office door again someday.
David Hartnett, our sports section would never have become the award winning section it was without your devoted writing and valuable reporting. Thank you for winning first place in on-site last year and forcing Lotis to transfer to SHSU in an attempt to beat you.
Jenny, I never realized we were soul mates until we began finishing each others sentences and reading each others thoughts. I will certainly miss spending late nights in the newsroom with you and turning innocent comments into sexually explicit laugh-fests. Thank you for being my right-hand woman.
Meagan, your gumption and your hair are two things about you that I admire and wish I could have. I am so proud of you and I am excited to see what you will do with The Houstonian as you ascend the ranks. Trust your instincts, stay dedicated and you will do great things as a writer, reporter and editor.
Kristina, you have come a long way from covering only softball and quietly taking Kevin’s insults. You have so much talent for writing and building pages and I know you are going to impress a lot of people. Stay true to yourself and stay true to God and don’t be afraid to tell Kevin where to put it if you feel like cheering for someone other than The United States in the next Olympics.
Kevin, who would have thought we’d still being working together for a newspaper six years after we first worked for The Aerial View at Oak Ridge High School. I am honored to have had the privilege of calling you my friend and look forward to keeping it that way for as long as you choose to continue putting up with Dennis and I. Whether you go by Shorts or Jevin Kukkola, you are a unique individual and I hope you never change who you are.
Lotis, I will always use the awards you won at TIPA (5) to boost my own self-esteem for hiring you. You will make a wonderful and entertaining Sports Illustrated writer some day. I expect a free subscription and contact information for David Carr.
Joe, your dedication to your opinions and avid defense of your views are two things I admire about you most. I wish I could acquire as many Facebook friends from the athletic department as you, but my photos of the softball and baseball teams will just never be as good as yours. Stay true to yourself and stay passionate about your photography and you will be very successful.
Thomas, my awe at the talent you have for photography has not waned since you first flashed me the screen of your camera two years ago. You have forever raised the photography bar for our paper. I will miss texting you from the stands at football games and watching to see how long it takes to reach you on the sidelines. It entertained me and you still managed to get amazing shots. Stay passionate and find joy in the little things and I pray you find life has more to offer than you ever imagined.
Katie, I don’t know what I will miss more, our American Idol analysis every deadline night or our conversations during class that, of course, have nothing to do with the lecture and everything to do with Disney. Have fun in Orlando next semester and don’t forget to send me a picture of you in your Mickey Mouse ears.