The Breeze says goodbye and good luck to Tristan Lorei, a graduating photo editor.

The Breeze has been a part of my time at JMU since the very beginning. 

I transferred in August of 2018 from a community college and started in September working with the paper as a photographer. I was eventually promoted to photo editor and that’s where I stayed until now. To say it’s been the best part of my two and a half years here is a complete understatement. There are so many things that I am grateful for and that I learned, that are thanks to The Breeze. 

The Breeze taught me confidence, most of all. 

I came to JMU at 20 years old not really knowing if I had any talent with photography or if it was what I could do for my career. I was given a safe place to grow and mess up and learn at The Breeze while being mentored by some incredibly talented people. I had professors all around me in SMAD and at The Breeze who were OK with being inundated by my questions and requests for help. Many people don’t get that at the beginning of their career and I’m so grateful for it. Through all this, I was able to gain the confidence in myself and my career choice for which I had searched for years.

When you graduate highschool and step out into a whole different world than what you know, it can be incredibly daunting to try to understand what you want to do. I’m so grateful that I figured out my path fairly quickly. 

Nothing I’ve accomplished could’ve been done without the people around me. My family, my advisors, my professors and my friends all provided mentorship, guidance and support in all their own ways. They’re truly responsible for any success I’ve found. If it weren’t for that support, I’d honestly still be in my hometown questioning myself. 

I wish I could thank every person that I’ve met at the Breeze and in SMAD that’s helped me. I actually started to, but I hit the word count after thanking only four — out of at least 20 — people, so I’ll find another way to thank you all. 

I’d like to leave with saying that time is precious and we often don’t realize it until it’s too late. I cherish my time at The Breeze more than I can express in a 500-word message and sometimes I wish that I could relive it or go back to certain points or even stay here. But ultimately, my time at The Breeze was precious because it was temporary. It’s valuable because it didn’t last. 

I would encourage you to acknowledge when you’re living in moments you’ll look back on fondly so you can appreciate them more. And please, please, please take photos. Of you, of your loved ones, of everything. When you’re older and looking back on those precious moments, you’ll be grateful for those memories. 

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