I wasn’t going to write for the Avenue.
I drafted a “thanks, but no thanks” email to the editor after our first staff meeting in Fall 2019. Fears filled my mind: I wouldn’t be any good at it. I was way too anxious to interview strangers. I couldn’t be creative or productive in the way the staff writer position required. But something inside of me told me not to hit send. To see if I could do it. And so I did.
I wasn’t going to be the editor for the Avenue this semester, either. I wasn’t even going to apply. There was no way I could manage an entire section of a newspaper, I thought. But as the clock inched closer to midnight on the night of the application’s deadline, I told myself to apply anyway — just to see. And when I got offered an interview, I took it — just to see. And the more I kept an open mind to see if I could do it, the more I realized I actually really wanted to.
The Avenue’s beat has a special place in my heart. Hard news is important, undoubtedly. But to understand the news, you need to understand the community and the culture of the people who make up the news. That’s what the Ave strives to do. And I may be biased, but I think we did it pretty well.
When it felt like lifestyle stories weren’t as valued as the harder news stories, we showed how local entertainment news can still be — and is — good journalism.
I’m so proud of everything our desk accomplished this semester. We wrote over 70 articles, covering everything from mental health initiatives geared toward local musicians to the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile’s recruitment tour at UF. We recorded roughly 10 hours of pop culture news banter for The Alligator podcast. We put together hundreds of our favorite songs for our weekly playlists. And I’m really glad I got to be a part of it. I’m really glad I didn’t say no out of fear.
No matter what lies ahead in my journalism journey, I know I’ll probably be scared again. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from my time with The Alligator, it’s that if you feel called to something, do it. If you’re scared, do it scared. Because the scariest thing is letting an opportunity pass you by because you were too busy doubting yourself.
Morgan Goldwich was a copy editor, Avenue staff writer and Avenue editor.