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One senior’s ramblings on the key to overcoming self-doubt to thrive in college

<p>Audio Editor Sarah Grace Hays with her first story in the print edition of The Miami Student.</p>

Audio Editor Sarah Grace Hays with her first story in the print edition of The Miami Student.

As I sit down to write this, my fingers hover over the keyboard for longer than they should. My hesitation doesn’t stem from not having anything to say, or even having too much to say, but from the fear that what I have to say isn’t good enough.

It's a feeling with which I am intimately familiar. The idea that my words aren’t valuable enough, or that my thoughts aren’t meaningful to anyone other than myself. This feeling has plagued my time in college and my time at The Miami Student, but it is also the reason I have grown so much.

As a freshman, when I first got involved with The Student, I was faking it. I didn’t know what I was doing or if I belonged. 

I wasn’t even sure if I was a good writer. 

People like Ceili Doyle and Ben Deeter took the time to coax me into the masses and encourage me to believe in my abilities. When Ben graduated and left the audio section to me and Maggie Peña, I felt lost. 

I certainly wasn’t qualified to be an editor as a second-semester first-year, but I dove in headfirst and did the best I could with a flailing section and a global pandemic coming out of left field. 

Despite feeling underqualified and overwhelmed, I’ve spent most of my time at Miami as the Audio Editor of The Student. Because it was more often than not a section of one, I had to rest on my laurels.

I knew how to edit, I knew how to tell a story and, despite my own self-doubt, I was there for a reason.

My self-doubt and anxiety has been crippling at times. The Student was just one manifestation of all the ways I thought I would fail. These insecurities have held me back from reaching my potential, and The Student has been the cornerstone of helping me out of that funk. 

You don’t get a seat at the table unless you deserve it, and my seat at the table has never been in question. I just didn’t know how to sit in it for the longest time. 

As I’ve learned to confront what I bring to the table, I’ve had to rely on myself. Sure, other people might criticize you, but the truth is that the voice in your head is the one you have to grapple with first. No one can force you to see your value. 

When I receive edits or have a tough meeting, how I adapt is so much more important than the criticism itself. People don’t waste time editing or critiquing something that isn’t salvageable, so when you receive feedback or criticism, it's because the value you add is recognized. 

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Learning to reframe criticism and understand my value as an editor, as a friend and as a student has been an integral part of my journey to recognizing my self-worth. 

As I reach the end of my tenure as the Audio Editor for The Student, I can’t help but wish I had grappled with my insecurities sooner. Perhaps I would have made more friends, and perhaps I would have had more bylines, but hindsight is 20/20.

When I look at the amalgamation of my time at Miami and at The Student, I feel immense gratitude for the people that have allowed me to grow through my insecurities and become the person I am today. 

My first byline came out Sept. 17, 2019, and I still have that hard copy of the paper. “First-years find their footing: new students share memorable moments.” 

If someone would have told me then that I would be wrapping up my time at The Student as an editor, with a wonderful group of friends and memories to last a lifetime, I would have laughed in their face. I had so much growing to do, and I didn’t have a clue how awesome I was. 

For anyone and everyone reading this, don’t wait to push yourself. Dive right in. Commit to things that scare you. I’ll be the first to admit that it sucks sometimes, but the only way out is through. 

You’re awesome, I’m awesome and wasting energy on self-doubt is a disservice to your time in college. Now is the time to make mistakes, to take risks and learn who you are. 

To everyone at The Student, I love and appreciate everything you have given me and this university. I would not be who I am without you.