When I was young, around five or six years old, I would tell everyone that I wanted to grow up to be an author/illustrator. I’d constantly write wacky stories, combining them with any given scraggly shape or coloration I could whip up in my mind. Then I realized something that put a damper on my first dream – I can’t draw. Except for ducks, dinosaurs and elephants (still learning the last one).

But you know, young Evan persevered. By age 10 I concluded that I could simply have someone ELSE draw for me to match my stories. But would they be able to convey the image that I had in my head? Not likely – another spiral of defeat.

This inner conflict continued as I progressed through my years as a kind of contradiction between the seriousness and creativeness of my writing. I was always going to want to write – that was clear from day one. But it was a matter of what I’d do with it that was perplexing. Switching between creative writing courses and news ones throughout my time at UNH, I weighed up each side of the coin right up until the end.

TNH has been that happy medium. Joining as a Staff Writer junior year – probably much later than I should have – I could write both types of stories that I wanted. I could publish a coffee review one week followed by covering the Bernie Sanders rally at UNH, or ‘Restaurant Week’ in Portsmouth followed by Playboi Carti’s late arrival for the SCOPE concert the next.

Whatever type of writer or professional I wanted to be that week, TNH gave me that opportunity. It’s been incredibly valuable for me to write what I want to write about. Always having been so fond of it, nothing was more draining for me over the years than writing something I wasn’t interested in. I’m thankful that TNH granted me that flexibility to write what I enjoy before I get a job where I’m inevitably told what to write (high school all over again).

When my work as a cook began to cross over into my writing as restaurant and food coverage, that was super fun for me to explore and develop. Probably my second favorite thing behind going out to eat at these Durham restaurants – I love going out to eat – has been writing about them, giving them a voice and sharing them with the community. I’ve felt the impact that this last year has had on the industry and the thought that something I publish could potentially drive business towards a place that needs it has always been a positive for me.

Helping people through my writing is something I never saw coming – but it’s been a highlight for me and is now a driving force going into my next chapter. It’s a great feeling to think that maybe even one person has been impacted by something I’ve published – I have TNH to thank for that opportunity.

It’s been inspiring this past year to see the efforts and drive of our editorial staff. It’s an honor to have worked with young writers that care so much – a constant reminder to push myself and work hard, as they always do.

I’m ready to be done with school, but if there’s one thing I’m going to miss, it’s TNH. It’s truly been a pleasure and I wish everyone all the best.