Speaking as a stereotypical, Type A Capricorn, change is a terrifying concept to me. I make plans, and it gives me a ridiculous amount of anxiety to stray from them.

I did not plan on Pipe Dream. When I first came to college, I had my heart set on going straight through to law school. Journalism was nowhere on my radar until I took Rhetoric 240: Introduction to Journalism during my sophomore year. I look back at the first article I wrote for this class and honestly cringe, but I am so thankful for this assignment because it sparked a passion that I didn’t know I had.

That semester I went to the first Pipe Dream GIM and signed up for the News desk. I will never forget the first article I wrote completely on my own. I was covering the Student Association (SA) sweeps on a Wednesday night, and it ran way later than everyone expected. As a first time contributor, I had to run to the office at about 8:30 p.m. and write my very first article for Pipe Dream during production. It took me forever to transcribe my notes and write. I remember our News editor at the time, Sasha, was having me send her each paragraph as I went. To say I was overwhelmed would have been an understatement, but I loved every minute of it.

I was shocked when I was asked to apply to the Pipe Dream News internship the next semester, and I was even more shocked when I was asked to participate in the Harpur Perspective writing internship program. I knew that I liked writing, but having such incredible mentors believing in me and my ability changed the course of the entire second half of my college career in the most amazing way possible. I couldn’t decide which one to do. So, after just one semester of writing journalism, I completed both programs simultaneously.

Knowing I wanted to be more involved, I successfully applied to an assistant News editor position for my senior year. However, change once again wielded its mighty fist and hit me square in the face. I took over the News editor position in October, and it was one of the best decisions I have made throughout my time at BU.

I can honestly say that nine out of 10 times, I have been met with nothing but grace and kindness as News editor. News is all about honesty and the truth, and that does not make everyone happy. Growing up, my dad always told me that there are three sides to every story — your side, my side and the truth. Our stories, our perceptions, are not always the truth, and that’s a very harsh reality to address. News requires you to push your perspective to the side in favor of the truth — yet another difficult change to make, but a rewarding one. The ability to hear different people, different stories and the opportunity Pipe Dream gave me to do this has truly been an unforgettable experience.

Like I said, change terrifies me, and this year has been nothing but change. I spent a majority of the COVID-19 pandemic living alone. I am now taking a gap year before law school. I am about to graduate amid a global pandemic with little to no idea of what is coming next. The emotional side of me is a scared, anxious mess, but the rational side of me knows I’ll be OK.

I cannot find the words to describe how thankful I am for the support I have gotten through these changes. There are too many people I have to thank and such limited space, but I will do my best!

I need to start these shoutouts with my family, particularly my grandparents — I would not be where I am today without you both. Nana, you have been with me every step of this crazy journey, and I am so thankful to have you. I would not have gotten here if you hadn’t taught me how to write an essay. Papa, I know you always say that I’m your hero, but you’ve really been mine this whole time. I would not have gotten through high school and now college without you. Mom, Dad, I know you both love me, and I hope that I’ve made you proud.

Will, you have been my rock. You are my best friend and have stood by me through all of these significant changes. There are no words to describe how thankful I am that you lived across the hall from me in O’Connor Hall almost three years ago, and I cannot wait for more laughs and adventures.

My amazing friends — Victoria, I am so happy that we wound up in the same cab coming back from a classic night out in Downtown Binghamton, and I am even more happy that we agreed to be friends. There is no one else I would rather play Kings with. Sammy, our friendship has known no bounds, and I am thankful every day knowing that you are always in my corner and I in yours. Sophia, our long-distance friendship has been such an important part of my life for so many years. While we’re both awful at keeping FaceTime dates, I know you are always there. Daniel, our theatre days may be over, but I am so happy that we’ve reconnected. I am looking forward to more “Grey’s Anatomy” dates, walks on the track and Dunkin’ stops.

Gill, Jackson and Hamza — my amazing News team. You are all so kind, and I am so upset we didn’t get to spend production nights together in the office. I know you will all go on to do amazing things!

Riccardo, you’ve got this! Your talent and wit are going to take you so far, and I cannot wait to see what amazing things you will achieve as News editor. Above all, I am honored to be your sole TikTok follower.

Ciara, Jordan and Sarah — one of the worst parts about COVID-19 is that we did not become closer sooner. I have loved our Zoom happy hours, our makeshift production nights and “not being like other girls,” cue all of the emojis. I do not know how I would have gotten through this year without our friendship, and I am so grateful Pipe Dream brought us together. Jordan, you are going to do amazing things in Raleigh. Ciara and Sarah, I cannot wait to see what you will do as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor next year.

To all of Pipe Dream’s current staff, thank you for supporting me as I became News editor. You are all such incredible people, and I am upset that I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know most of you sooner. This year was unlike any other, and I am so proud of the work we have all done.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has mentored and supported me not just at Pipe Dream, but at BU. I am not sure what comes next, and part of me is scared to find out. Yet, I am sure I will approach it in typical, Type-A-Capricorn fashion — with perseverance, heart and many lists.

Nicole Marks Kaufman is a senior double-majoring in English and philosophy, politics and law and is News editor. She was assistant News editor fall 2020.