Almost one year ago to the day, I was elected Editor-in-Chief of The Miami Student. The year that followed has been one of the most rewarding journeys of my life.
And as that journey comes to an end, it's only fitting to look back at a few of the beautiful stops that brought me here.
I almost didn’t even attend Miami University. The preppy, secluded “J. Crew U” was at the very bottom of the long list of schools I applied to. But two men quickly propelled this place to the top of my list.
After my application was accepted, the courting began. Promotion materials emblazoned with that crisp, red “M” began piling up. But one piece of mail stood out from the rest. A small envelope addressed to “Mr. Tim Carlin” scrawled in black ink.
Inside was a handwritten letter from Jim Tobin, a journalism professor (and the best mentor a young writer could ask for). He told me that he had personally read my application essay and wanted me to join his Writing Scholars program.
Woah. This was the first time I’d felt like more than just a number or spot that needed filling. The letter was enough to get me to come to an admitted student event on campus.
There, I met the formidable Richard Campbell, then chair of the Media, Journalism & Film department. After an afternoon of Campbell’s influence, I was sold.
Shortly after that event, I made it Miami. I haven’t regretted that decision once.
A few weeks before moving to campus, my phone buzzed with the notification of a new Instagram follower.
“Briah Lumpkins? Who the hell is that?” I thought to myself as I scrolled through her profile. Some quick research told me she would be starting at Miami as a journalism major, just like me.
I followed her back.
On my second day of class, I spotted Briah in a crowded lecture hall. “I think we follow each other on Instagram,” I said, plopping down in the seat next to her.
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Since then, we’ve sat together quite a bit. In countless classes, while co-writing stories for this newspaper, the times we’ve laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed.
I’ll never know how she found me on Instagram, but I know that I’m forever grateful she did.
I joined The Student during the first week of my freshman year, and it’s been home ever since. Rising through the ranks from a staff writer all the way to editor-in-chief, each new position has been an honor. Being chosen to lead in any capacity only validated the love and dedication I felt for this publication.
When I decided it was time to finally come out as gay to my dad during sophomore year, I did so over the phone while sitting in the newsroom. When I confronted some of the greatest losses of my life, it was for stories that have been printed in these pages.
I owe so much of who I am today to The Student. Not just the reporter I’ve become, but the man I am today. I owe it to the countless friends I’ve made and the experiences we’ve shared over the past four years.
I was recently asked what being editor-in-chief has meant to me, and my answer was simple. Everything.
So as I sit at the editor’s desk for one last production night, my only hope is that those who walk into this newsroom after I’m gone still feel what I felt here. I hope they honor the power of the written word and execute every story with empathy and compassion.
I hope they feel the magic within these walls – because it's here, waiting to be found.