Goodbye. Bye, bye, bye. See ya later.
So many ways to say it, yet none of them sound right.
April 24, 2022, I got an email asking me to interview for The Alligator. A year later, I’m publishing my goodbye column in this semester’s final paper. My driver’s license might read the same name, but the kid who got that email isn’t the same as the one typing this column.
When I applied, it was just a shot in the dark. My professor told me to come out of the proverbial corner of the journalism world and join The Alligator to get some real reporting experience.
I got a spot on staff as a general assignment University reporter. I figured the opportunity was good enough that I didn’t mind being on the University Desk as opposed to the aspired sports reporting position.
Covering UF was certainly no easy task, but it taught me so much about journalism and became a huge part of where I am today. I got so much valuable experience, but the relationships I developed that Summer were just as valuable.
The Alligator is responsible for what became some of my most important relationships. Office hours and staff meetings helped bring me out of my shell. One of the editors found my Letterboxd account (@kylebumpers for those who are interested), and we were off to the races.
I didn’t realize it then, but that one moment led to running into my soon-to-be friends at Arcade Bar or going to a Fourth of July get-together or staying up until 7 a.m. watching “Baby Driver.”
If not for that group of people, who knows if I even would have made it through the semester and got onto the sports desk. But in Fall 2022, I became the men’s tennis reporter under one of said friends, who was the sports editor.
He helped me develop as a journalist and make the unusual transition from tennis reporter to lead sports editor. And with one of my best friends, I assumed the role I aspired to the whole time.
Without my summer group and friends, I made along the way, who knows if I would’ve bought into this whole journalism thing?
I started college as a statistics major with sports statistics (whatever that means) as the goal. After realizing how much I didn’t actually enjoy math, I switched to the next best thing: sports journalism.
Now, I get to watch sports and write about teams and players of the sports I love. And I only regret one thing; I wish I joined journalism sooner.
I’ve always been a sports fan, so I wasn’t surprised I enjoyed that aspect. But I’ve never been a big writer, even though my mother is an English teacher, and my dad enjoys writing.
Now, I’m in the best job possible for me. For the past year, I’ve been able to work with people that will become lifelong friends and in a place I’ve come to adore.
The next step is to find what’s next, and I honestly don’t know what that is. But I have learned one thing from this journey, it’s that the opportunity will come at the right time. I’ve met people when I needed to and been given opportunities I didn’t know I would get.
And if The Alligator is as good as I believe, then I’ll end up somewhere I’ll be happy, and I’ll be well prepared to take on whatever hurdle comes next.
So goodbye. Bye, bye, bye. And see ya later, Alligator.
Kyle Bumpers was the Spring 2023 Sports Editor of The Independent Florida Alligator.
Kyle Bumpers is a fourth-year journalism major and the sports editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he cries about Russell Wilson and writes an outrageous amount of movie reviews on Letterboxd.