“I was 19 when I discovered the Promised Land.
For F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, it was Paris. For William Faulkner and Eurdora Welty, it was Mississippi. For Zayn Malik and Camilla Cabello, it was anywhere their former bands weren’t. And for me – big-headed, Tinder-trolling, aspiring novelist that I was – it was a room on the third floor of College Hall at the University of Southern Mississippi: The Student Printz newsroom, a petri dish of miscalculated decisions and bad ideas wrought by last-minute panic – in short, a young writer’s ultimate dream come true.”
The above is an excerpt from an earlier Swipe Right column that ran in the paper on Feb. 22, 2017— almost exactly one year ago.
It’s hard to believe it’s only been one year, and even harder to believe that I’ve been with the Printz for nearly three now.
First, a bit of history. I started as a lowly writer my sophomore year. In my junior year, I was promoted to Entertainment Editor (hence, the One Direction and Fifth Harmony references) and I became Managing Editor my senior year.
As you might imagine, I’ve made some difficult decisions in all that time.
Like, where best to park to avoid a ticket when I’m in the newsroom late in the night for production, or whether consuming copious amounts of Waffle House’s blueberry pancakes at three in the morning is conducive to health, or whether investigating controversial topics that paint administration or organizations in a negative light is worth it (it so is) or whether sleeping in a darkened corner of the parking garage is conducive to living.
My most difficult decision, though, was one I made last week.
I have chosen to resign from The Student Printz staff and to end my column with this final post.
This was not a decision I enjoyed making.
As much as I complain about it, I’ve come to love the newsroom. I’ve come to love speaking to you all through my column. I’ve relished my easy access to this wide platform, and I’ve enjoyed developing my voice throughout the years.
The official reason for my resignation is that student workers are allowed to work only 20 hours per week, and I will exceed that as executive editor of The Catalyst, USM’s undergraduate research journal.
But I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been looking for an excuse to step down for a few months now.
I entered the newsroom as a writer, and now that I’m deep in the midst of (what I hope to be) the final rewrite of my novel, it’s long past time that I return to writing.
In the interest of full disclosure, I think it’s also time to admit that I was terrified of submitting that Tinder article in September 2016.
I never could have predicted what would result from it, the incredible experiences I would have or the amazing people I would meet.
I want to take the opportunity, in this final column, to thank a few people.
First, my readers, who are rarely the sort of people I expect them to be: An older gentleman who stopped to talk to me at a protest I was photographing. A professor— whom I’ve yet to meet— who emailed me to say he was sorry he’d missed the week’s column, but he’d been out passing kidney stones. A night custodian who greeted me warmly as I waited in line to buy a book after a reading. Heath at the campus bookstore, who always makes my days brighter and remembers my words better than I do. The UPS guy, who suffers through all my bookmail with a constant smile. And countless others who have asked me if I am “Hiba from the Printz.”
My own professors who have encouraged and supported me in both the English and Mass Communication departments. I’ve been accepted to some pretty incredible graduate programs thanks to you!
Cam Bonelli and Julius Kizzee, who convinced me to write about Tinder in the first place.
My family, who is completely unaware of how much I overshare. (shhhh)
And finally, my other, far more dysfunctional Printz family: my coworkers through the years, but especially the ones I leave behind now.
I don’t particularly like any one of you— but I love all of you.
Some tears were shed during the writing of this last post.
Not by me—but I’m sure by someone somewhere in the world.