I haven’t experienced back-to-back semesters working at The Alligator like some of my peers have. That never really bothered me. But now, I sit here writing this and wish I had more time.
Being the engagement managing editor of one of the largest student newspapers was never on my itinerary. The Alligator was the shining light in the distance to the sophomore at the University of Central Florida. But even when I officially became a Gator, I told myself I would never be capable of being on staff –– especially after being rejected when I applied as a news assistant.
Intimidated by the staff at the time, I failed to realize everyone at The Alligator shares one thing in common: We are all student journalists. But this semester, I’ve learned to really embrace that.
We are student journalists.
I can give you the cliches and tell you the most fulfilling part was being in a role that oversees a staff of 70. But I won’t because that would be a fact error, and those are really bad.
What I will tell you is that I’ve witnessed the talent, passion and professionalism of this semester’s staff members both in their demeanor and in our coverage. They have week-by-week raised the bar, impressing our readers, our professors and our peers. They’ve reported the same stories some of the most honorable news outlets have. And they even broke news that made national headlines.
Through The Alligator, I’ve found my passion for connecting our readers with things they want and need to read. We’ve reached audiences like never before, curated crisp and clean content and even went viral on TikTok. As engagement editor, I’ve read nearly every comment on our social media platforms this semester –– good or bad, and sometimes really funny. It’s fulfilling for our likes and retweets to skyrocket, but it wouldn’t be possible without our entire staff.
At the end of it all, I’m going to miss editing stories, obsessively geeking over Instagram graphics and creating weekly newsletters. But I’m also going to miss the quirks of every individual on staff, hugging Heather when she walks in the office, exploring quite literally every feature on Canva with Makiya and spending Sundays gathered around people I’ve learned to call my friends … oh, and making fun of Steven’s Chipotle order. (Trust me, you don’t want to know.)
Steven and Carolina, the last 16 weeks have felt like an eternity of friendship. I’d be lying if I said I was 100% confident in my ability to work with two people who were considerably strangers, but I write this in awe of how well we worked as a trio. You guys amaze me every day, and I cannot wait untill we finally get our dream jobs — because we manifested it.
It’s really hard to pinpoint why this moment is so bittersweet, but when you’re surrounded by hard working individuals 24/7 (and yes, I mean 24/7), it’s hard not to be constantly inspired, and it’s hard not to let that feeling go.
If you’re reading this and find yourself in the same position that I was in about two years ago, I’m here to tell you that you already have the same fire in your stomach. It’s just about believing it.
The Alligator has and always will continue to produce good journalism. Behind every word, every photo and every social media post, just know there is a staff full of incredible individuals.
Kristin Bausch was the Engagement Managing Editor.
Kristin Bausch is a third-year journalism major at the University of Florida and a staff writer with the Avenue. Giving people an opportunity to share their story is one of her favorite things about writing. When not writing, she’s probably dancing.