I started working for the Southern Accent three years ago as a staff writer, later transitioning to Collegedale news editor. I would never have dreamed that during my senior year I would become editor-in-chief. This job has been one of the best and most difficult challenges I have ever undertaken. I made countless memories with the Accent team, and I am proud of the work we accomplished. I am confident I will go into the workforce better equipped because of my years at the Accent. My time leading the student-led newspaper has taught me to work well under pressure, stand up for what I believe is right and countless other lessons. The hardest lesson to learn, however, was to be kind to myself when I felt I had failed.
I want to say thank you to the amazing Accent team, and to Alva Johnson, Southern Accent sponsor, for her overwhelming support and for pushing me to be a better writer and reporter. I also want to thank managing editor, Amanda Blake, for her diligent work and always having my back. I want to express my appreciation to Vice President of Student Development Dennis Negrón, for supporting me through these tough last weeks as we dealt with backlash from our coverage of an off-campus boxing event. And last, but not least, a huge thank you to the School of Journalism and Communication for upholding the integrity of student journalism on this campus and fighting for the Accent.
My time leading the student-led newspaper has taught me to work well under pressure, stand up for what I believe is right and countless other lessons. The hardest lesson to learn, however, was to be kind to myself when I felt I had failed.
Am I happy to be leaving this position? Absolutely, yes. I have lost countless hours of sleep. I have cried until I felt numb and operated through waves of exhaustion. But at the same time, I am proud of the things I have accomplished. Painfully shy, 8-year old Alana would be in awe right now. I greatly value this experience and the relationships I have developed.