I came into The Famuan with no skills. It was March 2012, and the only reason I mustered up the courage to walk into The Famuan's office was because a professor escorted me there and gave me no alternative.
Honestly, I didn't know what she was thinking. I was a sophomore and had just changed my major from graphic design in December. What could I contribute as a journalist?
In retrospect, I had the wrong questions in mind. What I should have been thinking was, how can I benefit? But now, more than two years down the road, the answer to that is seemingly endless.
I remember my first days with The Famuan, sitting in front of a computer quietly, trying to look like I was doing something. But really I was just staying out of the way because I didn't want to mess anything up. Slowly, however, the perception of me was less deceiving, and I was gradually doing more and more work.
I still smile thinking back to the first time I saw my name on the newspaper's masthead: Nolan McCaskill, Volunteer Copy Editor.
Today, my title is drastically different. But as I reflect on my last days as editor-in-chief, it's amazing how far I've come. People can say what they want about this organization, but The Famuan is largely responsible for what I've grown into.
I came in doubting myself, unsure of my talent. But I'm leaving with no second thoughts as to whether I've gained the tools I need to be able to compete with anybody in this country when it comes to journalism.
The hundreds of articles I've edited shaped me into an award-winning writer and a strong editor, so strong that I was a finalist for a copy desk internship at ESPN last year.
The countless hours I've dedicated to The Famuan, whether through writing, editing, photography, graphic design, leadership, you name it, culminated into a College Journalist of the Year award, a regional award that put me in a category with two outstanding journalists from the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi.
The sacrifices paid off, too. I was the beat reporter for the football team, not because I wanted to do it but because it had to be done and we had no one else to do it. I hadn't ever covered a football game, but I felt like there was nothing I couldn't do. And there wasn't.
As a result, I'll be on my way to Raleigh, N.C., this summer to intern at the second largest newspaper in the state, The News & Observer, in the sports department.
I could go on and on about the plaques decorating The Famuan that bare my name and all of the accomplishments and accolades I've garnered. But I'm not writing this to brag. I'm writing this to say thank you.
To the nurturing environment of dedicated students who accepted me and gave me a unique set of skills, thank you. To the students who have stayed by my side doing thankless work in less than desirable circumstances, thank you.
There have been plenty of ups and downs on this two-year roller coaster, but this ride has almost reached its destination.
I wish the best for this organization as my era comes to a close and a new one begins. My Famuan experience didn't go exactly as planned, but just being in a position to help others perfect their crafts was a blessing.
Farewell, Famuan. Thank you.