I didn’t really know how I wanted to start this. And as I start writing this out, I’m not sure how it’ll go.
Saying goodbye is rarely easy, especially when it’s to something so meaningful that it becomes a part of your identity. “Michael Vestey, urban and regional planning major, Senior Staff Writer at the Miami Student” — that all gets replaced by “alumnus” and “former writer” as I dive into the world beyond school.
So, I figured I’d start this with a story.
On Sept. 15, 2019, in the fall of my first year, I reached out to then-Sports Editor Chris Vinel — a simple email, to schedule a meeting about beginning to write about sports for the paper. Exactly a month later, having interviewed two future NFL players and being rebuffed by a Congressman, my first article ran at the top of the front page.
For the last four years, every column and article that I’ve written here — whether about college football, the political topic du jour or my beloved FC Cincinnati — has been with that memory in the back of my mind. I’ve made plenty more memories since then, as well. Some of them are flashy, sure — interviewing some of the most important people in college football, visiting the impressive Ryan Field in Chicago and watching a historic victory for the RedHawks over Northwestern — but others are simpler — an outing to the Hueston Woods beach, a game night at the newsroom.
I’m not a journalist. During my time writing for The Student, I’ve been asked, usually by friends and family, about any desire I had to launch a professional career here. And the answer, sometimes to my own surprise, has always been “no.”
Writing as a hobby, as a way to express something I’m interested in to however many people are willing to listen without any real stakes, is really what I’ve appreciated in my time writing for The Student. Being able to develop my own creative voice and have the room to express it in columns throughout my time here has been a truly amazing experience.
(And that’s one of the best sales pitches I can make from my time here.)
Really, I’m simply grateful. Having a mentor in Chris who showed me the ropes, taking me along to his visits to football practices and giving me feedback on pitches and drafts, was absolutely invaluable in keeping me writing, and one of my few regrets from my time at Miami is not doing the same for someone else.
I can’t redo the past, but what I can do is look forward to the future.
If you’re a first-year or sophomore or even a high school senior reading this, you’re probably already interested in the paper, or even writing for it. All I can really say is: keep writing. Find something you want to talk about and there will be a person at this paper who will help you talk about it.
You never know — you might make some new friends along the way.