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Graduating journalism student feels sentimental about student newspaper

In a little over two months, I will be graduating from college.

It’s crazy to think about how much and how little that much time is. 

Four years ago, I had never heard of Miami University or knew that there was a city named Oxford. Every school I applied to had mostly been in-state, and I did not settle on Miami until the Decision Day deadline – May 1, 2018.

I had committed to the University of Mount Union until I woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to go there. 

That same day, I had received my financial aid package from Miami. They were giving me twice as much scholarship money as Mount Union was and tuition was nearly half as expensive. 

I had toured once with my dad, and the campus was beautiful. But I wasn’t going to turn down the immense amount of scholarships I got from any school.

Picking journalism as my major was a shot in the dark. I won my English department award in high school and wanted to do something with writing, but I didn’t want to just be a teacher. Not yet anyway.

I didn’t know anyone going to Miami and it was four hours away from home –  the farthest I had ever been. It was a conscious, but risky decision.

I wanted to experience “going away” to college. I craved freedom from my parents. I longed for new scenery.

Before the semester started, I received an email from a James Tobin asking me to take part in the honors intro to journalism class, as he was impressed with my admissions essay about coming out.

Journalism 120 changed my life and illuminated my passion for writing in a way I had never experienced before. At the end of the first class, Tobin and the UAs took the class on a tour of The Miami Student newsroom.

My high school didn’t even have a newspaper. 

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As the rest of my first-year classmates and I smiled at each other that we had just discovered this new secret hideaway, I felt like I belonged.

Over the next year and a half, my classmates and I made that secret hideaway our home.

Then we all got sent to our actual homes.

For the past two years, I helped run a newspaper during a pandemic. That’s something I never would have thought I was capable of doing. 

If the pandemic has taught me anything, it has taught me resilience and adaptability.

My peers and I merged our News and Culture sections together to create Campus & Community before we were even in charge of the publication. From there, we knew that if we all put our minds together, we could do whatever we wanted with this newspaper.

I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by so many well-informed, caring and encouraging people. For my fellow senior editors graduating, I know I will cherish being alongside you, as coworker and friend, for the rest of my life. 

I’ve sunk so much time and energy into this newspaper that the void is going to be difficult to fill. 

Even as I record my last podcast episode, write my last article and say goodbye in this column, I cannot fathom that my time at The Student is coming to an end.

I chose everything in my college experience on a whim. After being happily sucked into the current, I’m about to be spit back out into real adulthood.

I have no idea what to expect and thinking about making career and life choices on a whim with no safety net again is terrifying.

But my time at The Miami Student has prepared me to expect the unexpected. 

I will miss this time in my life and know that one day the memories I have will blend into a supercut of highlights, but I have friendships and mentors whose impact will last forever.

I hope the power of every TMS alum remains felt in the newsroom to all future generations of this paper.

Godspeed, good night and good luck.

@kwiatkdm

kwitakdm@miamioh.edu

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