Graduate overcomes hardship, exceeds expectations

When Jason Miner was in sixth grade, he wrote a yearbook quote he didn’t know would apply to the rest of his life.

“Adversity causes some to break,” he wrote, “but it causes others to break records.”

The senior communications major, set to graduate Saturday with 595 other students, faced adversity throughout high school. He suffered intense headaches caused by a cyst in his brain.

“In the back of my mind during college, I thought, ‘What if this pops up again?’” Miner said. “After three surgeries, I had the uncertainty of whether or not the headaches would come back.”

Miner, however, accomplished more than he thought possible as he became involved in campus activities, and he’s been headache-free since his last surgery.

He’s shared his story of healing from the brain cyst at the annual university Riley Dance Marathon, inspiring students to fundraise for Riley Hospital.

“It’s really humbling to talk about my experiences,” Miner said. “You see all these people working to help kids like me go through the struggle.”

In addition to Riley Dance Marathon, Miner’s been involved in his fraternity, Sigma Tau Gamma, as well as Student Government Association.

He said even through the headaches, he always wanted to be an active leader.

“I have a drive to be better and improve,” Miner said. “If I’m involved in something, I like to be involved in the decision-making of it.”

He said he’s most proud of his position serving as SGA’s Chief Justice.

“I never thought I’d achieve Chief Justice or it even be something I’d strive for,” he said. “I stepped up and stepped out of my comfort zone.”

Through his work within organizations, Miner said he’s made connections he expects will last.

“I feel like I’ve been a positive influence in people’s lives,” he said. “I feel like I’m a person people can come to when they need advice.”

Miner said he’s not sure what he wants to do after graduation, but he’d like to work in sales.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “I’m not quite ready to be done with college, but it’ll be good to finally be in the real world.”

Raegan Ball, Miner’s “little” in Sigma Tau Gamma, said one of his favorite things about Miner is his ability to analyze.

“He’s always very calm and really good at figuring out situations,” the undecided junior said. “He’ll also always be there for you whenever you need it.”

Ball said Miner is the reason he got a bid from Sigma Tau Gamma when he first participated in Greek life recruitment.

“Him being my ‘big’ has strengthened our friendship,” he said. “He’s become an older brother to me.”

Ball said he’s proud of Miner for overcoming hardships and succeeding.

“Wherever he’ll go, he’ll end up doing great,” he said.

SGA President Ashley Wright said she has several fond memories with Miner.

“One time during a university court meeting, he came out with a white hair wig, a robe and a rubber gavel,” she said. “He sat down and said, ‘I’m ready.’ He’s just so much fun to work with.”

The junior accounting major has been involved with Miner in SGA and Welcome Week leading, and she also ran a half-marathon with him.

“It’s going to be so weird not seeing him on a regular basis,” Wright said. “I’m just waiting to hear what he’ll do next.”

She said Miner and herself haven’t talked much about his past adversities because they see each other for their inner qualities.

“I’m just so proud of him and the things he’s able to do,” she said. “No matter what he puts his mind to, he’ll succeed.”