By Molly Atchison | Editor-in-Chief
I came to Baylor to study psychology, believing I was going to change people’s lives by helping them learn more and grow their minds. One semester in, I changed my own mind and decided to shift to a career in journalism, not because I had a passion for it, but because I was good at writing and it sounded more interesting than being an English major. Being a self-starter, I dove into my new course of study and decided to fill my extracurricular time with a part-time job.
And that’s how I found the Lariat. It fit perfectly and would help me learn more about my possible future career, but it became so much more than that very quickly. I remember getting a call from my news editor one night when I was but a lowly assistant news editor, and he asked if I could come in and design a news page. I’d literally never touched page design software in my life, and it was already 10 p.m., only 30 minutes from deadline. But still, I said yes, and that first trial by fire was what sparked a genuine interest in the world of journalism, newspaper design and editing.
Quickly, the Lariat became a second home to me, and with every “yes” came new opportunities to grow, learn and improve my skills as an editor and a writer. I said yes to designing pages on Election Night 2016 and watched my co-workers do twice the work while awaiting a very close outcome. I said yes to taking photos at the scene of an active shooter situation, only thirty minutes after we got off lockdown. I said yes to covering art, crime, sports and everything in between.
I said yes time and time again, and every single moment brought me to where I am now, finishing out my last week, my last print night of being Editor-in-Chief. The past four years of my life have changed me unequivocally — they have made me confident, strong-willed, compassionate, a better listener, a harder worker, a more dedicated friend. I cannot thank the countless coworkers, mentors and friends who walked through this journey with me enough. I cannot thank Baylor University and the Baylor Lariat enough. As seniors, we know that the past four years have not been easy. As Lariat staff members, we know this on a different level. We’ve had to learn to cover raw, difficult, dark stories that changed us and the Baylor community forever. But I believe that makes us better. I know it’s made me better. And that is just one more thing I can thank Baylor for.
Not to be a sappy senior, but thinking about leaving this place that I’ve called home for the past four years makes my heart break a little. Being a part of the newspaper staff has given me a front row seat to the incredible transformation our student body and our university has experienced, and that transformation makes my heart so incredibly full. Because of the past four years, I know we seniors are going to walk across that stage and accomplish amazing things. I know my friends and I are going to stay in contact and stay as connected as we have been from freshman year to now. I know I am going to pursue my passion. I know we’re going to all be OK, as long as we keep saying yes and never give up on what we believe in.
Seniors, our journey is just beginning. But as this one starts, an incredible one is also ending. So with this, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you to Baylor for helping me grow up. Thank you to the Lariat for being an outlet for my passion and my drive. And thank you to the graduating class of 2019, for never giving up. Sic ’em forever.
Molly is a senior journalism and international studies major from Phoenix.