Makayla Grijalva

People & Places

I mean, what did you expect when I wrote about having an existential crisis literally less than a month ago?

When I came to Valencia County two years ago — very wide-eyed and bushy tailed — I had no idea what was to come. It was a journalism job near Albuquerque that I knew wasn’t going to make me want to pull my hair out. Seems like a pretty good deal.

What I discovered is that it was so much more than that.

Julia and Clara have been such amazing mentors to me. Although we all don’t always see eye to eye, and like any family, do quite a bit of arguing, they challenged me to be better — a better writer, a better photographer, a better journalist, a better human.

Julia’s cynicism and sarcasm laden hour-long talks about life were highlights of my work week. Her perspective and advice helped me through some of my hardest moments over the past couple of years. Don’t be fooled, I know there is heart in there.

I will miss Clara’s kindness and understanding when I would come into the office crying because I felt overwhelmed. I thank her for showing me patience and at least hearing me out when I would come into her office, give her an awkward smile and say “I have an idea …” She reminds me of my own mom in all of the best and worst ways, but also like a mom the love remains the same.

Then there is that sports guy who people tell me used to come out on a thing called TV? I don’t know. When I lost motivation to write, seeing Mike’s drive — even after 40 years in journalism — gave me the inspiration to keep going and putting up the good fight. His perspective on the industry is truly invaluable, even though he doesn’t always know how to upload pictures to his PC.

After the revolving door of the journalists came before me, I thank you all for welcoming me into your community and allowing me a small window into life in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.

Every phone call, email, interview and casual comment; every time someone invited me into their home; every time someone shared their story with me — I will carry all of those interactions with me forever.

I will always be grateful for the little moments of joy, like making tortillas with a woman in Meadow Lake, watching the fireworks at the end of the Fourth of July celebration, or participating in the pilgrimage to the top of Tomé Hill.

I will even be grateful for the little things that weren’t so fun in the moment, like calling five different school board members to notify them of their suspension.

I laughed with you all, I cried with you all. While two years in retrospect may not seem like a very long time, when you are this plugged into a community, it makes it a hell of a lot harder to leave.

However, my time with News-Bulletin has come to an end as I seek more adventures and more memories. While I am not ready to publicly announce what is next, I am so incredibly excited for this next chapter in my life.

I plan to stay in New Mexico, and who knows, I may even find myself back in the county one day — only time will tell.

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history.