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Friday, June 14, 2024
Emma Behrmann was the Fall 2023 Digital Managing Editor at The Independent Florida Alligator.
Emma Behrmann was the Fall 2023 Digital Managing Editor at The Independent Florida Alligator.

I’m indecisive. I question nearly every decision I make. The uncertainty of what-ifs has persisted since I was young. 

But not once did I ever question my decision to join The Alligator staff. The only regret I have is not spending more semesters here. 

College has not been my favorite, which is clear in my decision to graduate a semester early. The only hesitation I had in making this decision was missing out on a final semester full of Sundays in the newsroom. 

Anyone who knows me is aware I take a while to open up. Virtual staff meetings and minimal newsroom opportunities didn’t help. My first full semester here, I felt like an outsider. 

My time as the education reporter on the metro desk almost ended after a week. As any Alligator reporter knows, tears and frustration are a part of the experience, and mine was not off to a great start. Luckily, my desk editor Jiselle Lee didn’t let me quit and instead continued to encourage me to apply for editor positions. 

When I became metro editor last Spring, something switched. I felt like I belonged. I had no problem bringing my little food scale into the office to track my macros; I talked with the other desk editors for hours on end not filtering my thoughts; I felt happy.

That semester, the thoughts of “Am I in the right major?” “Is this the right career path for me?” “Should I switch to APK or dietetics?” finally stopped. The what-ifs were replaced with “This is exactly where I’m meant to be.”

The reason I’m a reporter today is because of The Alligator, and more importantly, The Alligator staff.

To the people who continually told me I’m a dedicated and talented journalist, thank you. To everyone who valued my opinion and asked for my advice, thank you. To everyone who I’m lucky enough to call a friend, thank you.

I want to thank Isabella Douglas for being one of my first friends from a J-school class, becoming a data journalist with me and convincing me to be on the editorial board with her this semester. If you hadn’t asked me to be your DME in Nashville, I might not have been here.

I also want to thank Claire Grunewald for always making me laugh and supporting me. You’re the other main reason I’m here today. I’m so proud of you and look forward to The Alligator’s future under your leadership.

I’m forever thankful for the connections I made while working at The Alligator. I met people who believe in me like Christian Casale, my personal hype man. And I’ve met people who look up to me and remind me of my sister like Lauren Brensel.

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And the biggest thank you goes to my mom. No one in the world tries to convince me I’m good at what I do more than her. She’s also been a major Alligator tipster and story idea generator over the last three years, and all of us on staff have appreciated that. 

I wouldn’t have had nearly half the experiences I did if it weren’t for this paper. From being yelled at by a school principal as a first-time reporter to coordinating and editing a staff-wide mental health project I’m incredibly proud of, The Alligator has taught me so much.

This paper gave me a purpose and a group of people I’ll appreciate forever. 

This newsroom made me feel like I was exactly where I needed to be, and I can confidently say I am. I’m saying goodbye to a lot right now — to everything I’ve known for the last three and a half years — and I’m grateful and a little sad. 

My Sundays, which The Alligator has owned for quite some time, will now be dedicated to leg day and meal prep in Jacksonville. I love you, peace out!

Emma Behrmann was the Fall 2023 Digital Managing Editor at The Independent Florida Alligator.

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Emma Behrmann

Emma Behrmann is a fourth-year journalism major and the Fall 2023 digital managing editor. In the past, she was metro desk editor, K-12 education reporter and a university news assistant. When she's not reporting, she's lifting at the gym.

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