By Harrison Neville
I’ve never liked change. Once I feel comfortable with a situation, I would much rather it stay the same or change on my terms. I don’t want to have to move on, especially from people I care about.
But that’s not how life works.
I remember back in high school when graduation finally rolled around.
My apologies to the speaker, whoever you were, but you really didn’t leave any impact on me. However, if it’s any consolation, I really don’t remember any of the actual ceremony. I’ve never been much for pomp and circumstance.
So, I don’t remember the speeches, which were probably laden full of advice for young graduates. At the time, I really wasn’t all that interested. If I had my choice, I probably would have skipped that part and gone straight to the reception.
Because that’s the part that I remember. I remember walking around the room where they had the reception, talking to old friends and teachers. I remember hugging teachers, some of whom I would never see again, thanking them for the time they’d invested in me.
And I remember leaving and finding it such a bittersweet moment. Like most of my peers, I couldn’t wait to get out. I knew I’d be coming to Montevallo, and I was looking forward to moving out and experiencing life on a college campus. Yet, still, the moment was bittersweet, because despite looking forward to getting out, I was scared to go.
But in the end, it was fine. While I remember some of my high school moments fondly, I have absolutely no desire to return to them. In the moment, however, the uncertainty of the future was terrifying.
And now I am about to do it again.
The University of Montevallo has been my home for four years. I’ve made friends here that I hope to still have to the end of my life. I’ve gone through some of the best and worst moments of my life, and I have learned so much.
And I really don’t feel ready to say goodbye.
I’ll miss taking long walks on the brick pathways to clear my head, chatting with the staff at Pita Pit and the caf when I get my food, sitting in classes while my professors geek out over obscure literary references, playing board games at M.O.G. and perhaps most of all, running The Alabamian.
For four years I have been a part of The Alabamian, and I like to think I tried my best to improve the paper in a different way ever year. This paper has been my passion for a long time. Many of my friends would say it has been my obsession.
I love the work I’ve done with it, and of all the things I am going to miss after graduating, serving as editor in chief of The Alabamian is at the top of the list. The emotions I’ve been experiencing these past few weeks certainly bear some resemblance to the ones I felt in high school, but when it comes to The Alabamian, bittersweet doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I’ve poured my heart into this paper, and I still don’t feel like I came close to accomplishing all of the goals I had for this year. After years of involvement, it’s hard to let go. I want to cling on forever, and continue what I started, but I know that it is time to move on.
Luckily, I am confident that I am leaving behind a talented staff that is more than ready for all of the challenges that come with running a student newspaper.
I’ve always known that when I left this year, I wanted to make sure the person who would next be EIC had the ability to surpass me, and I am happy to say that I am confident that Madelyn will more than surpass me. She’s done a phenomenal job serving as our current managing editor of production, and I can’t wait to see what she does as editor in chief.
Together, I think The Alabamian’s current staff has the ability to soar to new heights that will astound all of its readers, myself included. I won’t be a part of putting the paper together anymore and sitting on the sideline as a reader will be a new experience for me, but I hope they know I’ll be cheering them on from a distance.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling. There are several other members of The Alabamian who will be graduating this year, and of course, there are a whole host of seniors who will be walking at commencement.
We all have different interest, hobbies and goals. Different majors and different career aspirations. And most of us probably have something we love that we’re leaving behind.
It isn’t easy, and it probably never will be easy, but change, good or bad, is a part of life. We can’t always control the changes in our circumstances. All we can do is keep moving forward.
So yeah. Maybe you’re graduating this year and you’re nervous that you won’t get a job. Maybe you aren’t graduating, but you now find yourself stepping up into a role in a student organization that you aren’t entirely certain you’re ready for. Maybe you just feel sad because either your friends are leaving you or you’re leaving your friends.
Whatever your situation, whoever you are, I can’t promise you it will all work out. If you’re nervous, I promise, I’m nervous too.
So, whether you’re an underclassman worried about the next school year or a graduating senior getting ready to leave, step forward and tackle the next challenge head on.
Harrison Neville is the editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.