For nearly four years you've known me without actually knowing me. My words have come to life on your screens, my tweets and photos capturing moments and stories you share with your friends without ever knowing who pressed send. I've loved that. I've loved being invited into your daily internet routine, your fall football Saturdays, your understanding and appreciation of all things USC. I've loved holding the pen that's helped to bring so many great stories to life.
I started writing for the RipsIt blog as a sophomore at USC. But my first contribution came about a year before that when I helped document the USC football team's trip to Haiti in 2012. That trip changed everything for me, instilling a passion inside me to tell important stories in which the platform of athletics was leveraged to empower, instruct and unite people. I was 19 then, and in the four years since I've had the opportunity to witness some incredible moments and tell some remarkable stories, while also growing up a ton along the way.
I've interviewed and worked with Olympic medalists, future Olympic medalists, pro bowlers and national champions. Sat front row for the announcement of three new head football coaches and hit send on more than a few news breaking tweets.
I've traveled the conference, the country and the world for USC, having more fun on the sidelines of football and basketball games than anyone should be allowed to have at a paid job. And even still, those haven't come close to being the best parts of my most recent chapter.
Because no matter how high profile the subjects of some of my interviews may be, no matter how exclusive a sideline pass may look, the people, and the stories they carry with them, have always been the best part. USC has brought me some of my closest friends. Whether a 6-foot-9 offensive tackle with an equally enormous heart, a talented running back from Florida who beat the odds, or a 65-year-old pioneer who changed college football forever, the individuals who've allowed me to tell their stories have become enormous parts of mine.
It's been the greatest joy to work with coaches like Tee Martin, who truly care about each and every player who steps into their office; or athletes like Whitney Pitalo, who want to use an education received at USC to change the world. I've been blown away at the humility, maturity and comedy of student-athletes like Chimezie Metu, Oluwole Betiku and Devon Kennard, reminded time and time again that every single person has a unique and important story to tell.
I've called one of the most hallowed grounds in sports home, one of the most hilarious and dysfunctional groups of people family, and one of the most fun and incredible opportunities I'll ever have a job.
And now, after four years of magic as both a student and a staff member, I'm saying goodbye to Los Angeles and hello to a new adventure in New York City.
At the beginning of the year I committed to a single goal: to be a really, really good storyteller. Of others' stories as a writer, but also of my own.
That mission is the driving force in my life, and the primary reason that led me to hit submit when I noticed a fitting job opening at The Players' Tribune a month ago. I want to help athletes share their stories with the world, and I believe that I'll get a chance to do that every day in my new role. It's also an opportunity to begin a new chapter in my story, and I'm looking forward to what this one has in store.
I couldn't have asked for a better place to grow up than within the walls of Heritage Hall. And while I couldn't be more excited for this next adventure, I also couldn't be more thankful for my time at USC. Thank you for reading, for sharing and for caring about every word. Thanks for teaching a girl from Portland, Oregon, what the Trojan Family means.
An LA resident no more, but a Trojan for life, #FightOn and #BeatTheTide.