Reflecting on My Year at Newhouse  

Thinking back, I can vividly remember how I tried to prepare for what my year at Newhouse would look like…especially boot camp! I asked my program director and a current MND student so many questions as I really wanted to know what I was walking into. I’ll admit, I like having a plan for everything, but one thing graduate school has taught me is that not everything will go according to plan. I’ve come to learn that it’s okay because I’ve had the opportunity to have so many amazing experiences that I could have never planned for!  

a person standing on a rooftop that overlooks a city
Sarah Merke

For starters, the friends I’ve met at Newhouse have been unbelievable. In such a short amount of time, I have created long-lasting friendships. The community of your friends and your cohort is so crucial in a fast-paced program that includes so many late nights. I still remember my cohort helping one another out during man-on-the-street interviews in the summer or the night we all got together in the library to complete our Data Journalism final (what a class!)  

Through my friends, I’ve learned the importance of self-care and creating a work-life balance in grad school. It’s not always easy but a simple trip to the movies or a walk in the park can make all the difference. Together, my friends and I have explored so many of Syracuse’s shops, bakeries and restaurants (I recommend Secret Garden for sushi, and Cake Bar for lattes, desserts and a great atmosphere to hang out or do homework). Last October, we took a trip to Philadelphia to see one of our favorite artists in concert which was a great way for us to bond outside of school. I also had the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico during winter break with my friend who is from the island. I could have never planned this experience, but I am so grateful she invited me, and that I was able to travel to such a beautiful place and make memories that I will never forget.   

a line of people in graduation caps and gowns with their backs to the camera
Emmanuel Offei via Unsplash

During my time at Newhouse, I also appeared on a trivia game show on  Orange Television Network. This was a fun and new experience to be on set and “compete” against a friend of mine. I’ve also had the chance to write music reviews for magazines on campus and intern as a life and culture reporter for the local newspaper In both my internship and classes at Newhouse, I have had the opportunity to go out in the Syracuse community to not only tell stories but also create relationships with so many inspiring community members who are committed to making a difference. During the fall semester, I wrote enterprise news articles centered around Black health in Syracuse under the guidance of Professor Greg Munno who has been one of the best professors I have been so fortunate to work with and learn from.   

This summer, I will head to Charleston, South Carolina, where I will be covering the Spoleto Festival USA. I look forward to building more memories with members of my cohort as well as classmates from the Goldring arts journalism and communications cohort.  

With my year at Newhouse slowly coming to an end, I can look back and treasure the memories I have made, the people I have met and the skills I have gained along the way.  

Sarah Merke is a graduate student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.