Taken by Kenneth Song, photographer extraordinaire.

Somehow college is over, and I’ve been given permission to write a love letter in parting to the Nexus, Isla Vista and UCSB.  

There’s a lot of jumbled up thoughts in my head, like the funny Victorian street lamps on El Embarcadero, the sunny perfection of Isla Vista Food Co-op’s patio, and the curious feeling I got as a freshman whenever I shuffled down the 6700 block of Abrego Road on Saturday night.

These bits of info remind me that I.V. has given me too much to squeeze into one letter, and that I should stick to some very important thank yous and my parting notes on reporting.

It’s inevitable, that in a powerful place like I.V., you will be emotionally connected to your stories. Don’t turn away a good, private cry, and build up your empathy through context and research.

As many have said before, always remember who writes the stories, who benefits from the stories and who is missing from the stories. When you’re writing for two square miles, and most of your audience is a two-minute walk away — you have no excuse for forgetting these questions.

Many people are proud to lament that there is no diversity of thought on college campuses, and they’re unfortunately on to something. Make sure to become friends with some assholes who you don’t agree with, so you can undertake the emotional labor that other people can’t.

Thank you, to so many activists, for letting me observe your spaces and ask irritating questions in sensitive times. The eloquence that emerged from terribly emotional moments will stick with me always.

Please read and critique the news, and spare your local reporters an extra moment every now and then. Journalism is riddled with faults (especially when a newspaper is forced to reset every four years) but this is our community’s chance to train inclusive, capable reporters.

Maura Fox, a passionate, diligent lady, will now lead the Nexus into 2018. She likes horses, Madrid and competency, and you can leverage any of these things to guarantee coverage in the Nexus. She’ll also (nicely) call you out on your bullshit, so be careful. You can direct any grumblings to her, and she will handle them with utmost grace.

One tip to little me and other people of various ages: While there’s a lot of pressure to be impressive — to sources, to professors, to new friends and handsome late-night diners at DLG — please remember to be genuine first.

You’ll be very busy becoming a complete person, pursuing healthy meals and relationships and enjoying unspeakably beautiful sunsets on DP balconies, but there is always time to understand inequality and the way it grossly oozes over everything. If your life doesn’t force you to escape the the bubble that UCSB readily provides, try to actively remove yourself from it.

You don’t know what other people have experienced, and if you have the time to earn a completely unsustainable stipend at the Nexus, you should be able to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. As I chalked on the aging Nexus walls a few days ago, “be nice or leave” might also become a helpful guide to you at UCSB.

Isla Vista has sustained too much grief in the last four years, and these emotions still push their way into scary corners of life at UCSB. It’s your responsibility as a Nexite to be kind, resourceful and impossibly hard-working to make sure this community is prepared for anything that happens. Outdo the people who came before you (like me)!

Thank you to everyone who has been patient with the Nexus these last few years, sharing, commenting and reaffirming our lock-in to support independent student journalism at UCSB. Because of you, this tradition has happily ebbed on nearly 90 years from its inception.

I wouldn’t be who I am without this place, thank you, thank you, thank you. <3