Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Let go of expectations and challenge yourself

Claudia Erne sports a huge smile during one of The Student’s production nights.
Claudia Erne sports a huge smile during one of The Student’s production nights.

At the start of my junior year, I was casually skimming the weekly newsletter from the Department of Media, Journalism & Film in my inbox and saw that The Miami Student was seeking a new social media manager. I hadn’t heard much about The Student but quickly took to the internet to learn more about the organization.

After applying and interviewing, I found out I got the position. I was thrilled. However, I was equally terrified.

I was joining The Student’s editorial team as a junior, non-journalism major with little interest in writing. Intimidated by the idea of walking into a room full of supremely knowledgeable reporters, I was also riddled with the thought that people had established close-knit relationships and that I would struggle to connect with others.

As I attended my first budget meeting one Sunday afternoon, I was greeted by several staffers. I sat through the meeting and attended production later that week, feeling exceptionally welcomed; yet a nagging feeling of unworthiness persisted, like a weight on my chest.

It wasn’t until I got more involved with The Student and let go of my unrealistic, self-imposed expectations that I really began to feel at home.

While I try to think the best of others, I have a bad habit of assuming the absolute worst for myself. Part of this is anxiety, but another aspect is a strong feeling of self-doubt. Since a young age, I have worked to gain inner confidence through therapy, mindfulness and affirmations, but the process is not linear.

I started my position with an utter sense of imposter syndrome, but began to let go of false notions that I was not good enough. Some of this growth needed to be individual, but the unwaveringly authentic and inclusive environment in the newsroom made it easy to let my guard down.

From the creation of Pinterest boards of our ideal “types” to profound conversations about life, the people in TMS make me laugh my head off and feel uniquely heard.

Not only do I feel accepted, but I am positively challenged by my fellow staffers. One of the characteristics that has remained steady throughout my life is my eagerness to learn, and the newsroom is full of passionate and inquisitive people who match my energy and push me to be better — every day.

This position has also helped heal my relationship with social media. It’s ironic; I am the social media manager, and I have a complex relationship with the very platforms I post on. I think most other people do, too. Social media is incredible for staying in contact with friends and sharing fun moments, but there is often pressure to post the best version of yourself for the world to see. 

This pressure is even more pervasive in college but posting on The Student’s social platforms has truly reignited the part of me that enjoys sharing content. I have been able to post meaningful, informative stories from our student writers and editors while building friendships with those very same staffers.

I have also become more educated on the happenings at Miami University and in Oxford. Having the opportunity to share stories on social media has allowed me the pleasure of enhancing my own knowledge of school-related news and events.

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I’ve even learned more about AP style! I catch myself questioning whether to use the Oxford comma in essays (I still do — Oxford comma for the win) and whether to capitalize certain titles. I have gained such a wide set of skills that have made me more well-rounded as a student and as a person.

To TMS: Thank you for providing a safe space, pushing me out of my comfort zone and surrounding me with friends who I will cherish forever.

My advice to those out there who may not feel worthy: Get out of your own way, let go of expectations and challenge yourself; it will be worth it.