Opinion

Ashes to Ashes

Time for reminiscing as new adventure lies ahead

Hi folks. It seems my time in Mt. Pleasant and with the Southeast Iowa Union is coming to a close.

I truthfully have no idea how to say goodbye, not only to this job but also to the communities I’ve covered in the last year and some months.

When I first graduated from college in the summer of 2019, I had a resigned realization that my experience as an undergraduate reporter probably wasn’t enough to get me a job at any paper in the country. But like other stubborn 21-year-olds, I forged ahead with completely unfounded confidence and blitzed my meager resume to as many papers as I could, hoping that even just one would take a chance on this kid from California.

Oh, how lucky I was to end up in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

I really can’t overstate how transformative this job has been for me, not only as a reporter and journalist, but also as a human. I’ve grown and evolved, celebrated successes and tried to understand failures. So much life has happened in the short time that I’ve been here, and it continues to boggle my mind that it’s only been a year.

There’s nothing I want to say more than “thank you.” To everyone who shared their story or took the time to answer my (sometimes annoying) phone calls — thanks for being so kind and patient to this first-time reporter. I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I have without the grace that was shown to me.

I’m thankful to the wonderful people who worked alongside me at this paper. Everyday, the work of the other reporters and editors at the Southeast Iowa Union reminded me of the importance of local journalism and the role we play in keeping our communities informed. I’m proud of the work I did here and owe a great debt of gratitude to those who taught me the ropes. This paper is important. It will remain important to me, even as I move on.

I just want to, for a second, affirm how special of a community Mt. Pleasant is. I’ve never felt a city and its people care more about working together to make it a better place. I don’t think everyone here always has the same views on how to get there, but the intentions of most people (from what I’ve seen) have been pure and motivated by the desire to do good. I think that’s pretty cool.

I don’t know what you Iowans have done to me but instead of heading back to the West Coast, my next move will be to remain in the Midwest (no escaping these winters!). I’ll be headed on a new adventure in Chicago come January, exploring the world of broadcast and audio journalism. I’m really excited, although I think print will forever be my first love.

Thanks again for taking this journey with me — for reading about my cooking failures, my strange music tastes and my never-ending gripes about the Star Wars movies in the many columns that I got to write. I’m so grateful my first job in journalism was here in Southeast Iowa. I only hope the next community I get to cover is as welcoming and kind.