Almost immediately after I moved into my dorm room in Adams Hall, I went to Cougar Walk on a mission. I was not hindered by the 110 degree heat, nor was I going to wait any longer to establish my purpose on campus, though I’d only been there for a matter of hours.

I walked up to The Clause office and swung the door open, finding a room full of editors staring at me.

“I want to work for The Clause,” I said.

The editor-in-chief (EIC) stepped outside with me, and said I might be able to start writing if she thought I was ready after reading some of my clips.

I went back to my dorm to get my pink monkey-shaped flash drive with all my writing samples. A semester later, I joined the newspaper workshop as a staff writer.

Flash forward to now: I’m serving in the position I had only dreamed of as a freshman.

“I know it the best and love it the most,” I said during my job interview to be editor-in-chief.

I stand by this. I’ve been all in since day one—literally.

My time with this newspaper has been the most influential part of my APU experience. I have had the pleasure of learning alongside other writers and editors for three years, who in the process have taught me a lot about teamwork, truth-seeking and storytelling.

Each year has provided something unique. As a freshman staff writer, I honed my interviewing skills, and I got to see my byline on the front page for the first time. As assistant news editor, I was challenged in being one of the youngest on staff, and spent most of my time sifting through Campus Safety reports to put on page two. As news editor as a junior, I coached writers and wrote controversial stories, which needed to be told but no one wanted to talk about. As EIC, I’ve learned to stand up for a group of people and defend articles on tough issues.

One of the most surreal moments of this semester was printing the results of the presidential election the morning after it happened. In a moment when all I wanted to do was react, I wrote instead. This experience forced me to work under pressure, and it proved that The Clause could produce something just as quickly as a professional news organization.

I have had the privilege of writing and editing everything from jazz concerts to racial equality activist movements, and the purpose of those and everything else we do for this paper is the same: to inform and give students a voice.

Thank you to all who have contributed to my experience with The Clause at some point along my journey.

Thank you to the fall 2016 Clause staff for seeking to cover stories that were compelling and important, and allowing me to learn alongside you. We put out eight strong issues, and I’m proud to have my name beside yours on all of them.

Gratitude to our advisers Kent Walls, Jessica Sherer and Charity Capili for their insight, support and trust.

Thanks to the 2015-16 Clause staff for curating fun, facilitating teamwork and playing sweet jams.

Thank you to the 50 years’ worth of EICs who came before me (especially Kaity Bergquist, Kelyn Struiksma and Michael Clark) for leading by example, encouraging me in my role and abilities and passing down a legacy of empathetic storytelling.

Thanks also to my parents, who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and act like they’re receiving a Pulitzer Prize-winner every time I give them the latest issue.

Thanks to my sister Elena and roommates Jess, Emily and Cassondra for bringing me burritos on production nights, helping with distribution and for proudly displaying The Clause on our coffee table.

Lastly, thank you to all who have picked up The Clause and read it. We keep writing because of you.

On behalf of everyone at The Clause and the larger APU community, the opinion section would like to thank Gina Ender for making The Clause such a powerhouse of strong articles, expansive coverage and solidarity with marginalized perspectives this semester. The Clause would not be the same without your spot on insight and unstoppable passion for student voice representation. You have made your imprint in the legacy that will follow you at The Clause, and we will dearly miss your High School Musical singing, burrito eating and never ending compassionate and supporting presence on Monday production meetings. We love you!