Fourteen years ago I sported orange and green hair, a Sebastian tattoo on my right cheek and a University of Miami cheerleading outfit. I stood on top of the bleachers at the Orange Bowl and cheered for the football team.
I was as close to my dream as I thought I ever would be, until two years ago when I transferred to UM. What was once a dream became my reality.
I’ve attended every game at Sun Life Stadium. I’ve roamed through the Intramural Fields. I’ve had lunch on the Green. I’ve had sangria on the gliders at the Rat. I’ve spent a night at Richter during finals.
More than that, I found my second home on the second floor of the University Center in The Miami Hurricane’s newsroom working as the opinion editor. I have spent countless hours learning about my passion, which I have found in journalism.
Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Working at the Hurricane made me realize why I was born. I was born to be a journalist.
As I get ready to graduate from UM, I look back at my journey spent here. I see how much I’ve grown. I see the impact this university has had on my life.
Through my experiences, I have learned how to never take no for an answer. I have learned how to be fearless. I have learned how to communicate with others, even those who have disagreed with my thoughts.
I came in as a girl. I am leaving a woman.
For those who still feel they have not found their passion or purpose in life, don’t give up. Keep searching. The day you find what you are meant to do, you’ll know.
At UM, you will meet friends that become family, you will meet professors who become mentors, and you will encounter failures that will become lessons. Embrace every moment, every relationship and every challenge.
Most importantly, never let obstacles derail your dreams. Chase your dreams – even the ones that seem impossible. And even when you feel like giving up, keep running.
Elizabeth de Armas is a senior majoring in journalism. She will be a reporting intern at The Miami Herald after graduation.