The end of any university year is tinged with nostalgia, but the end of final year is particularly bittersweet. We are constantly told that our time at university will change who we are, and as cliché laden as that sounds, they were right. Four years ago I unloaded my car into Norfolk Terrace a very different person to the one currently sat in the media office of Union House. My time at UEA has taken me across continents and introduced me to people I would never have otherwise have the privilege of meeting. From the glamour of Stephen Fry, (I swear, I’ll stop banging on about that eventually) to the friends I met in halls, and my colleagues at Concrete; I feel incredibly lucky to have spent the last four years a member of the UEA community.

Many things at university contribute to making us who we are at graduation: but for me, the biggest factor will always be Concrete. It was the society I was too scared to join in first year and have gone on to lead. From the very practical – it helped me get a real job as a real journalist – to the personal; it has given me the courage of my convictions and the confidence to face the challenges that leaving campus and the next year will bring. It has also introduced me to some unique characters that, I have no doubt, will stay with me long after I leave Norwich. It has been a privilege to lead this year’s editorial team – it’s not been without it’s challenges – but I have to thank each and every editor for their time, their patience and their distinctive voices that have helped shape the newspaper this year. From the section editors, who have built beautiful, imaginative pages, to the events, media and marketing team who have helped run the practical side of the society, to the long-suffering copy editors who endure the office madness on a fortnightly basis: we could not have done it without you, and more importantly, we wouldn’t want to anyway.

However, and without wanting to sound too much like I’m accepting an Oscar (we haven’t won Best Publication yet!) there are three people, without whom Concrete would have ground to halt and been reduced to an A4 flyer. Caitlin and Jess – my partners in crime – and James – our ever sassy Online Editor, and the only one who answers my messages at 2am on Wednesday  – you have made Concrete what it is, and your endless enthusiasm, pep talks, and copious supplies of gin have got me through this year.

This year we celebrate Concrete’s 25th anniversary and this issue is a celebration of student life at UEA, documented for the past quarter of a century by sleep deprived, gin filled student journalists.  There have been some hilarious typos, extraordinary headlines and some eye-watering logos.

Over the past 25 years we have printed 338 issues, amounting to over 40.5 million pages which have been laughed at, enjoyed and then used as wrapping paper by stingy students. We have interviewed Alan Rusbridger, Tony Blair, and Toni Morrison; we’ve run features on Taylor Swift, Olympians, and UEA security. We’ve been banned, redesigned and moved office at least three times. The legacy left by former editors has outlived the paper their stories are written on.

It is on that note, I surrender my crown and end my reign as Editor-in-Chief. The applications are now open and I am excited to see which of you embrace the challenge of running, quite frankly, the best society at UEA. It has been an immense pleasure to play a part in the history of Concrete, but it’s now time for someone else to take the reins. I can’t wait to see what happens next.