College newsrooms make for the best classrooms

This is it.

Four years, nearly 203 deadlines and countless sleepless nights amount to this – my final issue working at The Miami Hurricane.

I was accepted to UM after applying early decision. I remember that, two days after my acceptance, I emailed the then editor-in-chief about ways I could get involved with the student newspaper. By my second week of school freshman year, I was hired as a copy editor for The Miami Hurricane. I promise I’m cool.

My years here have been filled with learning experiences, countless memories and plenty of laughter. There have been tears, too, but thanks to the lifelong friends I’ve made on staff, I’ve been able to turn those tears into lessons that no amount of tuition or scholarships could ever cover.

To quote a short bit from my favorite poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” “The time has come.” As commencement inches closer, the sacrifices, like Wednesday and Sunday night deadlines until midnight, and our commitment to the 24/7 news cycle – it’s all finally over. And the end, at the risk of perpetuating a cliche, is bittersweet. I’m ready to graduate, but I can’t say I’ll ever be fully ready to leave everyone at The Miami Hurricane.

At last year’s commencement, one of the speakers shared words I’ll never forget. The speaker stressed the following: “If your time at the University of Miami serves as the best four years of your life, then UM has failed you.” It’s time to move on and apply those lessons we’ve learned. The time has come.

I wouldn’t be who I am today without my involvement in The Miami Hurricane, and because of my experiences working with this paper, I truly believe I will succeed in my future endeavors. I am grateful for my time on this campus, and I know that coming to UM and working for The Miami Hurricane were some of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I want to dedicate my diploma to my parents. I appreciate them for allowing me to attend this school. I owe all of my triumphs to them. After all, I grew interested in newspapers and journalism because of my dad. I don’t remember a day going by that my dad hasn’t read the newspaper or shared clippings of the latest, most interesting articles published in El Nuevo Herald.

I also want to take the time to thank our readers; the phenomenal newspaper staff; and our adviser, Bob Radziewicz, for an amazing college experience at The Miami Hurricane. And, of course, thanks to my mom and dad. We did it!


Stephanie Parra is a senior majoring in journalism and political science. She will work as an editorial intern at O, The Oprah Magazine in New York City after graduation. She plans to attend law school fall 2015.