My journalism experience at the University of Miami started long before I wrote my first TMH story. (It was a hard-hitting piece about a printer scammer and I didn’t write another news story for three years—I hope they caught the guy.)
When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to attend Miami Montage, a three-week-long program that took me and nearly 20 other students on a bona fide journalism crash-course. We worked long hours, traveled the county for scoops, shot hoops at the Wellness Center and gorged on Chartwells. And I loved it. I got to experience the lavish Hecht dorms at 16, and made the School of Communication a comfy, happy home.
That I was able to return to that home as an actual Cane in college is a testament to the sheer generosity of the people who run Montage, and their scholarship that made the U possible for me. I had journalist dreams since I was a high-school pup, but in coming here I got to explore so many other corners of communication, too. Screenwriting. Production. Emails without a 1:1 sentence-to-exclamation-point ratio (okay, I failed that last one).
It’s fitting that I start and end my time at UM with the paper. Though the in-between was filled with plenty of change (in majors, interests, crushes), one thing that I’ve found to stay the same has been the sheer dedication and creativity of the people around me, the ones who welcomed me on and the ones, too, who I’m now saying goodbye to.
Journalism has never been more important, and the fact that I’ve had the chance to work with people who get that, who pursue it in such creative ways, is something I’ve always been thankful for. As a great editor J. Jonah Jameson once said, “the power of the press triumphs.”
I hope if you’re a first-gen student, too, you realize that people are, really, rooting for you to succeed.
(I will say, though, I really dread not being around this many study spaces, Starbucks and wall outlets again after graduation. So if you see a figure huddled next to you in the Student Center next spring, typing away at her laptop, well, you know why.)
Grace Wehniainen will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Communication – Honors Motion Pictures.