Time has truly flown these past nine months while working my University of New Mexico journalism fellowship at The Independent as a recent graduate. On my first day, I was tasked with Primary Election coverage—and the work has not stopped since. From covering Covid-19, to wildfires, to the 2020 election, there was literally never a dull day on the job.

I got to really spread my wings and test my skills as a journalist, because for all intents and purposes, I was working in a true journalistic capacity. I was thrown off the deep end to sink or swim.

I learned a lot about myself and overcame some fears because of that, though. As silly as it sounds, I hate calling people. It’s a weird social anxiety I have, and the thought of talking on the phone terrified me. Throw in the fact that the people I’d sometimes have to call were government officials and other important people, I was not a happy camper. I was forced to get over this fear and now I’m able to talk to anybody with no anxiety.

Another aspect I loved about working for the newspaper was the sense of kindness I felt from every community I covered. I really want to say thank you to every person I spoke to. Whether it be the mayors, the county officials, to the business owners and other people I got to interact with, thank you for being so welcoming to me. I will never take your kindness for granted. Covering these tight knit communities was an honor and I learned so much about the neighboring areas I’ve lived next to my entire life but never really knew much about. I’m excited to see these communities grow over the next few years and what other amazing things will happen for the people that live there.

Overall, I’m so thankful for my time at The Independent and the guidance our editor Leota Harriman has given me as a journalist. I am an immensely better writer, investigator, and reporter because of it.

Editor’s Note: This week is Felecia Pohl’s last at The Independent, and we’ll miss her reporting. Best wishes and godspeed wherever your journey takes you, Felecia, from all of us at the paper.