The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

You were more than just a short time

Whitney Veazey

I wasn’t sad when I graduated high school. I had a new chapter to start. Something fresh and exciting and my own. I was finally an adult, the one thing I spent my whole life wanting to be.

Three years later, I am graduating college. And I am sad. 

How can I describe my experience? How can I sum up roughly 1,100 days in a page of words? It feels like such a small amount. 

I started college in fall of 2021. I felt like a kid getting pushed into the deep end. I was going into a field I wasn’t crazy about — I always wanted to be a creative. As many of you know, I began volunteering at the newspaper that same semester. It was life changing! I loved being a writer. I still do, even when facing endless burnout. I changed my major to journalism in the midst of a heavy heartbreak in fall of 2022. That semester was hard. I started therapy and felt like I had no safe space other than my home. I cried in my car at the end of every day. I only had four friends, and three of them were my two sisters and mom. My career wouldn’t go further than news editor, despite the fact that I constantly tried to prove myself to people who, at their core, hated me. 

God gave me a barrage of tests between August and November 2022. It made me stronger. It made me softer. It made me never want to make someone feel the same way I did. I almost transferred to University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and moved in with my dad, but I had the few people who were in my corner telling me to stay. I am so grateful I did. I love this place, despite the people who made it a living hell for four months. All those times you were throwing punches, it was for nothing. Sucks to suck.

I have a lot of thank yous to give, so bear with me. And sit tight. You just might pop up.

The biggest thanks will always go to my mother. You’re a mama bear. You will go to bat for me, even if I’m wrong (and I often am). I am grateful to have you as my best friend. While I am excited for what my future holds, you’re always there to listen when I need to admit I’m scared. You have proofread most everything I have written (so you’re basically an honorary Flor-Ala editor by now, them’s the rules). I have been supported so heavily by you that it makes my heart just burst with love. I love you to the stars and back, Mommy. You mean the world to me. Thank you for always holding my hand when I need it.

My sisters have been my rock for as long as we’ve all been breathing. 

Jordan, you’re the most logical of us all and thank God one of us knows what we’re doing. You’re the bravest person I know, and you’re stronger than you think. I still cannot believe you trusted me to be your maid of honor at 18 because, let’s be honest, I couldn’t even buy you wine if you wanted it. When I was a kid, I always looked up to you (both literally and figuratively). I still do. You’re my blueprint, so we’re both screwed if you mess up. Jokes aside, I don’t know where I’d be without you. I can’t wait for what both of our futures hold.

Elliott, I have already dedicated my best opinion piece to you, but I thought I’d say a little more. Every day, you make me proud to be your big sister. You’ve survived so much more than I could and still came out with beautiful humanity. You have a gorgeous spirit and a connection with God that I envy. You are strong and kind and funny and extremely talented. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not good enough, because you are more than enough. You’re going to be up on stage with Megan Moroney one day, I just know it. 

You both deserve the world, and I love you.

My dad isn’t getting off the hook either. You’ve been a huge supporter of my writing career, and know when to tell me what I need to hear (no matter how bluntly). We’ve bonded over silly things like Game Of Thrones and The Last Of Us, which has been a light in the darkness. Thanks for always being there. Love you!

Karl, this one’s for you. I met you in that cursed semester I mentioned earlier. You brought the color back to my face and the light into my eyes. You showed me a feeling I had never felt before: true love. Corny, I know, but it’s true! You’ve been a breath of fresh air in my life. I can’t wait to start our life together. We’re two halves of a whole idiot. Thank you for showing me parts of yourself you haven’t shared with anyone else, and allowing me to do the same. Also thanks for showing me Naruto. I love that show. And I happen to also love you. You get the best boyfriend award.

Brookie, you are my soul sister. You were the managing editor while I was a volunteer and once I was promoted to news editor. You also promoted me to best friend (see what I did there?). I think I would have lost my mind in college without you there for most of it. You taught me a lot. Like how to use InDesign, and when it’s okay to act unhinged to get back at your ex. I knew the way, and I got the map from you. It feels redundant to tell another person I love them, but I love you.

Cathy! How would I have done it without you? I am so glad that I didn’t have to do this alone, and that I am graduating early so I don’t have to spend a semester without you as an adviser. Thank you for covering my meals when we would have breakfast meetings at BBB. Thank you for listening to me when I felt like no one wanted to hear my voice. You didn’t just hear it. You amplified it. Thank you for reassuring me that I am fierce. I still wear the bracelet you gave me. 

Kelley, you are the best managing editor a girl could ask for. It has been amazing to see you grow along with me. You’ve blossomed into an amazing person and leader. You’ve been the level head and reliable person I needed. You are going to make this newspaper even better.

Trenedy, I am so glad you didn’t secretly hate me when we started working together. You’ve become, what I consider to be, a very, very good friend of mine. You are a kickass writer, and you’re going to go so far. I am grateful I’ve had a role in the journalist you’re becoming. You better send me your articles when you get your internship. I’ll always be cheering you on. And, seriously, make a blog.

To the rest of my staff, it has been a privilege to be your editor. You are all so incredibly talented. You will all flourish without me. I am always here if you need to talk, need advice, or want to use me as a reference. 

Audrey, thank you for laying out a blueprint for me, even if I didn’t follow it. You shaped the journalist I’ve become. Even though I know you didn’t intend to at all, you empowered me to become an advocate for myself and others. So thanks for that!

Dr. Sanders, I have learned so much not just from your classes, but also from the way you lead. You hold me accountable (like for the absences I racked up), and show me that women can be powerful leaders. You have been a great supporter of the freedom of student media, and we all thank you for that.

Mr. Taylor (or Kevin, or Mr. Kevin… I’m still not sure what to directly address you as), thank you for showing me how a real-world journalist works. Being in your newsroom was the highlight of my college experience, and I hope to be someone’s Kevin one day. You encouraged me when I needed it, and steered me in the right direction when I went off track. You helped reaffirm that I wanted to be a journalist, and I wanted to be in news writing. I am a bulldog, and I learned it from you.

Dr. Bates, though I am no longer in psychology, I still learned a lot from you. 1) That it’s okay to admit when you are overwhelmed, 2) that psychological research is very fun and 3) that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought. You’re still one of my favorite professors, even if your tests were really hard. The way you teach shows that you love what you do, and that made me love it. I know I’m not going to save the world, but I can certainly try.

James Spann, thank you for letting an amateur reporter interview you for their college newspaper. That interview I did with you catapulted my journalistic career and it’s still a very fun story to tell today.

Nana, thank you for reading every newspaper I have written in. Your support means the world to me. I love you.

First Lady Kitts, thank you for warmly welcoming me into your home not once, but twice. You always made me feel comfortable and welcome, and you are a very fun interview. If you could, please pet Allie for me. She’s a very good girl.

I know there are people I have forgotten to thank. I’m sure I’ll read over this and kick myself for leaving someone off, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful. I have had the privilege of having a wonderful college experience that has taught me more than I could put into words. I will miss the Flor-Ala. I’ll miss goofy Wednesday meetings and the rush of production night. I’ll miss walking into the Pubs Building and feeling like I’m home. 

I will miss it all. It was three years, but it was more than a short time. This year I’ve had as editor-in-chief has been more than I ever thought it could be. 

So to you, reader, thank you. Thank you for supporting student journalism. Thank you for (inadvertently) supporting a 20-year-old girl’s dreams of writing and telling people’s stories. Thank you.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Emma Tanner
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.
Whitney Veazey
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

Comments (0)

All The Flor-Ala Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *