I never imagined I'd be writing this column. It'll be my final one as a reporter and photographer with The Compass.
For the past three years I had the opportunity to travel around the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region and meet hundreds, if not more, people on my journey.
It has been three years of ups and downs, both emotionally and mentally. It has pushed me near my breaking point, taught me many lessons and helped develop me into a better journalist.
When I wrote my first column back in 2013, I did it with encouragement from both my former editor and mentor Terry Roberts and my colleague Nick Mercer. Both said it would be interesting to share my experience as someone new to the industry.
Finally, I got the nerve to write it. And I enjoyed having the chance to share my journey with Compass readers.
Although I will no longer be writing for this area, I will be continue to write.
My journey is taking me up north, to the tip of Newfoundland to St. Anthony. I will begin my position as the editor of the Northern Pen newspaper later this week.
But I will always remember where I began. The day I walked in through the door at the Compass, I was a little overwhelmed. I was a 26-year-old girl with a gift for writing, but no experience. My editor took a chance on me.
Through my connections in Carbonear - being my hometown and all - I began to create roots again after almost a decade away.
The first time I travelled to the Trinity side of the region, I was attending the annual Green's Harbour-Hopeall Firefighter's Dinner and Dance. To this day, the three times I have attended have been my favourite events. The atmosphere is raw, real and welcoming. I will miss the 40th anniversary of the department this year, but I have created friendships with members of the department that I hope will last a lifetime.
My first trip to Placentia was to meet the outspoken and retired politician William "Bill" Hogan. The former MHA and Placentia mayor was blunt in his words about current council matters. I knew we would get along great. I visited him last week to say goodbye. He's still as sharp and quick-witted as ever.
Last week I received a personal letter from the Town of Carbonear signed by Mayor George Butt Jr. himself, thanking me for all the hard work and time I've put into covering events in the town. It is the first time I have received something so personal and heartfelt.
There are some events and people that will always be a part of developing a person's career. Meeting people like Bill and George, and working with organizations like the Green's Harbour-Hopeall Volunteer Fire Department have helped mould me into the community-minded journalist I have become.
I will be proud to walk into St. Anthony and meet all the outstanding and amazing people there. I will be proud to call it home. And I will be proud to be able to share the stories from that region, just like I have in Trinity-Conception-Placentia for the past three years.
Thank you Compass readers for making me a part of your events, welcoming me into your homes and businesses and for being a big part of my life.
You can continue to follow my adventues through Facebook and my Twitter account (@Mel_J_Compass).
Melissa Jenkins is a former reporter and photographer with The Compass. She can be reached at Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org.