Senior Goodbye: Nora Smith

I always swore to myself that I wouldn’t start my senior goodbye like everyone else does, but I’m finally at the end, and there’s really not much left to say. I can’t believe it’s over. I loved every moment, except for the ones I hated. The Appalachian, as wonderful as it is, would not be in my life if not for the wonderful people there. So, this letter is really for them.

And this could not be a love letter if not for the love I received from Sydney Spann and Victoria Haynes. My gals. My confidants. You are truly two of the best friends I ever had, and I’m so thankful to have two strong women to look up to, and trust, and love with my whole heart. You also both taught me the beauty of a Moscow Mule, and for that, I owe you my life.

Sydney, getting to work with you as graphics editor and as editor-in-chief is one of the main reasons I could always hang on through the grit and grind of putting out a paper every week. You are the Libra to my Capricorn—keeping me grounded, keeping me laughing, and telling me what I already knew but just needed to hear someone else say.

Victoria, you were the first person on staff who I felt completely at peace with. I have always been able to be myself around you, and you have taught me so much about patience and passion. Thank you for always encouraging me, and sitting in my parking lot yelling with me until 2 a.m. even though we had been in production for seven hours already.

Reilly Finnegan, thank you for being my right-hand woman this semester. Sometimes it feels like you and me versus a room of screaming staffers, but you have been there to yell “SILENCE” when we need it most. I’m very glad we were not removed from the union when you got caught holding Hank in the air “The Lion King” style. I love that this place brought me closer “towards” you.

Jules Blaylock, the job of a chief copy editor is not easy. You are tenacious, detailed and strong. Harley Nefe, I know you will pick up right where we left off.

Natalie Broome, I don’t know how you do it. I have learned so much from you about working hard, loving what you do, standing up to people, dessert, chocolate, ice cream and Taylor Swift. Whoever gets the opportunity to work with you next is so lucky.

Mickey Hutchings, I know you will do just as well as visual managing editor as you have as photo editor. I’m so proud of the leader you are, and I know I can always count on you to spit-take all over me because you think my water is vodka.

To my desk editors this year, Moss, Mariah, Brooks and Q, thank you for producing strong content and for trusting every change this year. I’m so lucky to have had the team I found in the four of you. Moss, never doubt what you can do. You are a strong journalist and leader. Trust your gut, and please leave room to take care of yourself.

Efrain Arias-Medina, you are talented and have a good eye for design. I know you’ll continue to be a fantastic graphics editor, just don’t be afraid to break the rules.

Jackie Park, Rachel Greenland and Christina Beals, keep killing it. The Appalachian will always need strong lady leaders. Keep your heads held high, you are all going to accomplish so much next year and beyond.

I owe much of my success and sanity to people outside of this organization. Dr. Edy, thank you for helping me develop my skills and for encouraging me to believe in myself against all odds. To my roommates, thank you for being awake when I got back from production, and for letting me loudly copy edit in the common space each week. And, of course, because I know my parents read everything I wrote for The Appalachian, know that I couldn’t have done it without you and the rest of our family. I’ve said it so many times, but I’m so lucky.

I decided I would stop writing when I started crying, so that’s all I have to say. I’ll see y’all on the other side. Think of me when you wish someone was there to rewrite a headline.