Two and a half years. Five semesters. 138 stories.

In the fall of 2016, I was thinking about dropping out of college. Now, five semesters later, this paper has sent me down a career path I know I’ll love.

And when it comes to that career path, I have so much to thank Cardinal Points for. I’m only as good of a writer as I am because of this paper and the people who work on it.

I’m as good as I am because of Laura Schmidt, who gave me a couple copy-editing tips the first day I ever came into the office to start as a contributing writer. Because of Ezra Kachaturian, my first sports editor, who gave me tips before I wrote my first story. But, mostly because of Kavita Singh, my first editor-in-chief.

Kavita, I have so much to thank you for. You pushed me when I needed to be pushed. You called me out when I needed to be. You made me a far better writer than I ever was before I met you, and you had the confidence to hand your position off to me when you left.

Most of all, you provided an amazing example for me to follow. I got to see what a leader was under you. It sounds cliche, but there were many times that I thought, “What would Kavita do?” during my first semester as EIC.

Rebecca Natale, I would not have been able to survive the coverage of the 2018 racist Snapchat incident without you. Getting to work with a writer and reporter of your caliber was truly a privilege. I know you’ll be doing great things before long.

Hilly Nguyen, you joined the paper at the same time as me, and it only seems fitting that we leave our editor roles at the same time. You’re someone I’ve always been able to count on, and have had as a constant presence to help me out. As hard of a time you’ve given me sometimes, it was always worth it.

Nate LePage, there could not have been a more capable person to hand the sports off to. Your work has been second to none, and your departure along with me will truly be a loss to the paper.

Emma Vallelunga, I’m so happy I’ve gotten to see you grow as a writer. Through being your grammar guru and watching you as an editor, I’ve seen you start down the path you were meant for. I know you’ll kick ass at running the FUSE section next semester, and who knows what after that.

Mataeo Smith, I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder in the growth of one of my writers than I am in you. The progress you’ve made since fall 2017 has been night and day. I’ve loved getting to mentor you, and I know you’re going to be a great leader for the news section. It will be a challenge, but you’re ready.

Fernando Alba, I can’t wait to see what you do with the sports section. You have a ton of potential, and the sports section is going to tap into it. It’s going to be the most work you’ve ever done for this paper, but I know you’re going to love and be great at it.

Windsor Burkland, I could not be handing my baby off to a more capable person.

Cardinal Points has had few luckier days than the first day you showed up as a staff writer. From when you took pity on me when I was sports editor and wrote the volleyball beat, to when you took on the FUSE and graphic editor roles to when you took on the managing editor job this semester, you’ve always done everything asked of you and more.

Most people only last a semester or two at this paper, or maybe three if they stay on as an editor.

It’s the people who will do whatever, whenever for this paper, like you, that are the only reason it stays alive.

The job will be one of the more tiring tasks you’ve taken on, but you’re ready.

You’re already a way better natural leader than I am, and I know you’ll be a much better fit for pushing Cardinal Points forward.

You’re going to be great.

I’m one of the luckiest men alive to have gotten to work with all of you.

Finally, to all of you, the readers, I say, “Thank you.”

This paper has given me more opportunities than I ever could have imagined since I joined as a contributing writer in the fall of 2016, and even if you’ve only read one sentence of my work, I say, “Thank you.”

Because the reason we do all of this, to steal one of Luke Cyphers’ favorite sayings, is to, “serve the readers.”

I’ve always tried my best to do that in all my time here, and I hope I have done well.

Cardinal Points has been where I’ve made friends; it’s been my home.

For two and a half years, it has been my proving grounds as a writer.

But the best players have to make it out of the minor leagues eventually, and I’m beyond confident in the team that I’m leaving behind.

 

And I have to thank you, Cardinal Points.

 

Because I’ve loved every second.

 

— Ben Watson

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