Five years.

Five years where for 30 weeks I would walk 17-and-a-half minutes, uphill both ways, from my little tiny home to the VIU campus in a wild dream to become a writer—whatever that was supposed to mean that week, whether a poet, a journalist, or a storyteller.

It wasn’t a perfect time. Most courses went well, but there were often struggles and even failures. I never anticipated that I was capable of failing something—that I would actually need to work hard to learn and continue to work hard to prove it. I became notorious within my program for tardy assignments. I would stumble into class late and out of breath because I left the house late because I always convinced myself that I could make it to school in 17-and-a-half minutes when that was really just the time it took me to reach campus, not to scale the 409 steps.

That was an important part of it all: Humility.

When I found myself in the position to become Associate at the Navigator, I approached it with the same cocky attitude I approached everything else. But it wasn’t a perfect time, and I learned more during the last four months in this position than I had in my last couple years.

Every issue was an experiment where I had to push myself out of my comfort zone—not just complacency in my work, but a rooted social anxiety. I spoke to more new people in the last four months than I had in probably my entire life. What was even more difficult was being knocked down a peg. I wrote a profile on someone I only knew for a short hour, and while I thought I had portrayed them in an honest and accurate way, they didn’t agree. It was not the binary I thought it was.

For this final issue of the Navigator, and my final week at VIU, I tried to do two things. I tried to deliver new information regarding what I believe to be an important issue: the implementation of the new Student Services Fee. It didn’t go so well, and I was knocked down another peg. I also tried to deliver a unique flare to the story of the Jean Burns fire. Shanon was an amazing help in putting together my first joint-byline, and the photographers we worked with captured some profound moments in the heat. Hopefully you like what we did.

And while I’m on this podium, I’d like to thank my wonderful boss and friend Molly for supporting me through my many struggles these past four months, and thank all my professors for the patience they offered me over the years. I like to think that in my occasional successes, I make those people proud.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do after graduation, but I know I’m going to keep pushing myself and experimenting. I’ll keep finding pegs, and keep getting knocked off. And I’ll be listening to Chumbawumba the whole way down.

Cheers, VIU.