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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Difficult moments; they’ll pay off

Cherish every moment, even the ones you may not want or expect

Goodbyes are hard. 

Difficult. Bittersweet. Sometimes, even heartbreaking. 

After my first semester at The Alligator, I had to say goodbye. After being a reporter for one semester on the paper I had dreamed of joining since setting foot on campus, I received a rejection email for Summer of 2020. 

My heart shattered; the ambitious reporter in me felt deceased. 

I thought it had ended, just like that. 

Yet, what I didn’t understand at the time was that the rejection — though one of the worst moments — was the start of the best. It led me to where I am today and projected a path I am forever grateful for.

After two weeks in Summer of 2020, I was given a second chance and asked to come back as the Digital Desk Editor. For the three semesters after, I pushed myself to pursue my passion to the fullest extent — with the best and worst of times in between.

Over my time at The Alligator, I’ve learned to cherish every moment. However, to me, it isn’t only about appreciating time. It is learning to accept, revere and grow from the hardest.

The Alligator has taught me how to be a reporter, but more importantly, given me inspiration to be an excellent one. From my first day, pre-pandemic, stepping into a full-fledged newsroom, to now two years later zooming with a hybrid staff, I find the best part of The Alligator is surrounding myself with the most talented, passionate and hard working people. 

The people who work here make me feel alive. They work tirelessly for what they care about, and strive to tell every story to the fullest truth. I’m more than proud to be one of them. 

I love this paper, even though it hasn’t always loved me. 

Five semesters and probably hundreds of cups of coffee later, I reminisce on my time. Everything from tired eyes to shaky hands, the countless hours and all-nighters. The worst mistakes, lost stories and bad grades. 

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Difficult moments; I think they’ve paid off.

Some of my favorite moments at The Alligator were working with fellow reporters. From covering prominent court trials and political rallies to sharing late night stress on deadlines, we found the best moments in the hardest work.  

As the Digital Managing Editor, I’ve spent nearly every day this semester thinking about our stories, coverage and influence. Yet, more than that, I’ve tried to foster an environment where student journalism can thrive. More importantly, where people can thrive. 

And while I question myself, and ask if I could’ve done better, I realize this is what brought Lianna, Asta and I some of the best times. While many moments have cost me so much, they are the ones that open the door to new beginnings. 

To the Spring 2022 staff, I am so incredibly proud of all of you, and I am extremely grateful to have served you as DME. I hope I have been able to create vital, precious and beautiful moments during my time here. I hope you, too, create them as well. I hope you accept and grow from the hardest as they come. 

Goodbyes are hard, but they don't always have to mean leaving. They can mean, “see you later.” 

Maybe this isn’t a goodbye, maybe my time isn’t up. However, if it really is, this goodbye is a difficult moment. I hope it’ll lead me to the best.

Anna Wilder is a junior journalism major. She was the Digital Managing Editor. 

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Anna Wilder

Anna Wilder is a second-year journalism major and the criminal justice reporter. She's from Melbourne, Florida, and she enjoys being outdoors or playing the viola when she's not writing. 

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