By Sarah-Grace Battles, Editor-in-Chief —
Beginning college as a freshman and even continuing through your college career, there are so many emotions and opportunities thrown at you all at the same time and if you’re like me, you often wonder if you’re making the right decision (even if you don’t think that in the moment, you will one day). I began my time as a freshman making the wrong decision and attending a school that wasn’t the right fit for me, so I transferred to UTC on a whim not knowing all of the possibilities this place held for me. I found issues I was passionate about in the Women’s Center, I made relationships with staff and faculty I will carry with me forever, I met my best friends, I figured out who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do and it all happened because I made a mistake. It’s the best mistake I’ve ever made because it led me here.
The Echo has had more influence and impact in my life than I could ever possibly explain, but I can tell you this: the people I have been on staff with these past four years are the best people I have ever known. They are the most intelligent, most passionate, most caring, most genuine and most talented people I could have ever hoped to call not only my staff and my peers, but my friends. They make me laugh, they teach me something new every day, they taught me how to lead and most importantly, they are my people. I know I can count on them for anything and everything whether it’s during a production day, studying for a test, editing the paper, grabbing coffee, teaching me how to ride a bike and giving me tissues when I inevitably cry because I’m going to miss them, the Echo and the home that the Echo has been for me more than I can even begin to express.
This place teaches you so much more if you let it and embrace the challenges and the opportunities that are presented to you. It teaches you how to handle things that don’t go your way, how to take criticism, how to communicate, how to be a part of something bigger than yourself, how to learn, how to mature, how to be a good friend and how to love. I want you all to know that this school changes lives. This place changed my life and I am walking away from this school and my time here a better student, better journalist, better professional and better human being because of the Echo, this school and the people who made it home for me for these last few years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the administration, staff, faculty, friends and most importantly, the Echo staff for making my college experience more than I could have ever hoped for.