BY SAMANTHA ELLIOTT, Editor-in-Chief

I’ve been thinking about and preparing for this column since I found out that I got the position of Editor in Chief. It was inevitable. One day I was going to finally graduate and my time with The Michigan Journal would come to an end. Although I’ve been thinking about this moment for the past year, it doesn’t make the fact that it’s happening now any easier.

Three years. That’s how long I’ve been with The Michigan Journal. I can remember the first time I ever stepped in the office. It was my second year here and student life was very new to me. I came to get my picture taken for my sports column I had just started writing. I was hardly aware that there was a second floor to the University Center, let alone an entire world that I was about to dive in to.

When I left the office that day, I remember thinking to myself after seeing how well the current staff got along, “I want to become involved.”

Little did I know how much that one little thought would change not only my time at UM-Dearborn, but the rest of my life.

Getting involved on campus was hands down the best decision I’ve made during my college career. I’ve been involved with four orgs, held eboard positions with two of them, been through countless changes in leadership, and made endless memories.

This year has, by far, been the most challenging and the most memorable. The end of last year brought the realization that I would need a brand new editorial staff. Eleven brand new members to the paper. Each addition of a staff member brought new memories. From my first interview with Tom, my copy editor, when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing to my last interview with Sarah, my student life editor, it was a learning experience.

Add in the fact that I didn’t even know how to send away the paper to our printer until five days before our first production day, and I can honestly say that while frustrating at times, there’s not a single thing I would change about the past year.

About my three years with the MJ, I can only say that good things come in threes. My copy editing professor, Professor Schaefer, would scowl at this and remind me of one of the most important rules in journalism. Never use a cliché. But hey, rules were meant to be broken (see what I did there).

Speaking of a professor, there are a few here on campus that have truly impacted my time here and I will never forget them.

Professor Schaefer teaches some fabulous classes. Although I’ve only taken his copy editing class, I’ve heard nothing but good things about his other ones and I encourage everyone to take him. I’ll admit, I was terrified the first day of class. He works for The Free Press and I was slightly intimidated. Now, almost fifteen weeks later, I can say it’s one of my favorite classes and I’ve learned so many tools vital to my career choice.

Professor Kraus is the head of the journalism department here on campus. For those of you who don’t know her, get to know her. Her office door is always open and she’s overflowing with information and always willing to help. Of everyone on this campus, she’s the one who pushed me to become a better writer.

Professor Kiska is also a must take. As our advisor to the paper and also a long-time reporter, he’s a wealth of information. There’s nothing he doesn’t know about a newspaper and I encourage all journalism students to take as many classes as you can with him. If you’re really serious about the field, I promise you, you won’t regret it.

My other major is history. Although he was promoted to Provost and no longer teaches, I simply can’t say goodbye without thanking Marty Hershock. I had Marty for three classes and my only regret is that I didn’t get to take more. Marty is the type of professor who makes you long to go to class and sad when it’s time to leave. With his impressive amount of knowledge, he turns history into so much more than memorizing names and dates.

My first ever summer class was with Marty. Michigan History quickly became one of my favorite classes ever and although it was during the hot summer months and class fell on my birthday, I still attended every single lecture.

For those of you looking to become more involved on campus I suggest two people to you. Tasha and Jon work in the Student Activities Office and I can’t count the number of times I’ve turned to them for help, whether it be a situation or just to vent about life. Jon is literally everywhere at once. A big advocate for student life, his Amazing Org sessions and SOLID conferences are an absolute must-do. Tasha, although in charge of Greek life on campus has helped me in more ways than she probably knows. Since the very beginning she’s always been supportive of me, giving me a hug or simply telling me that I’m doing a great job when I’m having a particularly stressful day. And for that, I can’t thank her enough.

The people that have meant the most, and the people who I will miss the most, are the eleven individuals who I’ve worked with for the past two semesters. The 2011-2012 MJ editorial staff is the craziest, most unbelievable, amazing, fabulous, hardworking, and sometimes aggravating group of people that I have ever had the absolute pleasure to work with.

These are the people who have seen me at my worst and my best this past year. Who put up with my craziness. My yelling, slamming doors, and sometimes tears. But they’re the people who, at the end of the day, I’m forever grateful for.

And as graduation draws nearer, the elephant in the room is growing larger, informing us of the inevitable. That the last issue is drawing nearer and our time together will end.
I’m currently listening to a song from the Wicked soundtrack. The lyrics read, “I’ve heard it said. That people come into our lives for a reason. Bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them. And we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true. But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you…It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime.

So let me say before we part. So much of me is made from what I learned from you. You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have re-written mine by being my friend.”

These words perfectly describe how I feel about my staff this year. You’ve all changed me; you’ve all helped me grow. Through the good times and the bad, there’s not a single moment I would change. No one understands me quite like you guys do and I absolutely cannot thank you enough for your hard work. For plowing through the bad times and making sure there were plenty of good times.

I will never forget my time at UM-Dearborn. The good times, the bad, the class experiences, 159 articles written for the MJ, the memories are endless. Thank you everyone for all of your support over the years. And as always, go blue!