Mutations (Reflections on Life)

Moment for Life

As I look at the date of my last post, I realize that this will be my first entry for the year 2012, and for that, I sincerely apologize. I had absolutely no intention of going this long without blogging, but life got the better of me, and before I knew it, it was the end of April.

The primary reason for my being MIA has been my status as a graduating college senior. For the past 8 months, I’ve felt like I’ve been leading somewhat of a triple life–school, getting my post-collegiate life in order, and also attempting to do some writing for other outlets (I’ve had a few pieces on Clutch Magazine online). However, now that classes are over, grades are in, and I’m basically just waiting to graduate in 12 days, I have a little more free time on my hands.

At the end of each academic year, I usually post a Facebook note describing the personal life lessons that I’ve learned during that year, but this year, I decided that I’d bring that post here. While I definitely feel that I grew the most and learned more about myself during this year than in the previous three years combined, I don’t even really feel the need to list lessons like I usually do. However, as I reflect, I’ll just go where the spirit leads me and see what happens.

Since classes ended, my friends and I have all been sitting around waiting for it to hit us that it’s really over: we are actually going to be college graduates in less than two weeks. To be honest, I really don’t know what I’m waiting for. I am fully aware that graduation is rapidly approaching, that I will be leaving Howard and not returning in August. I have been waiting for this moment all year–since August 2008, if you want to get technical. Graduation was always the end goal.

I don’t even really expect to cry or get extra emotional–although this could all change at a moment’s notice. I’ve seen plenty of people around me momentarily lose it over a random memory or sappy “end of an era” song, but for the most part, while feeling solemn at times about the realization of what I’m leaving behind (and how old I’m getting), I feel relatively calm.

Part of it is that I’ve always had somewhat of a restless spirit, and I’m usually eager to move on to the next challenge; the other part of it is that I’m just ready to go. When I was a little girl, someone once gave me a mini-sculpture of a little girl looking into a mirror at an image of her older self wearing a cap and gown, and finally that scene is becoming a reality. (Yes, that moment also came in high school, but I always imagined that the older girl in the mirror was a college graduate.) I have been waiting my entire life to be in a position where I felt that I was ready to make my dreams come true, and even though I will still not technically be finished with my formal education, even after I graduate from college in a few weeks, I feel like I am finally in a place where I am ready to launch.

While I will miss the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made tremendously, I’m also excited to see what these upcoming changes in our lives will demonstrate about those relationships, because right now we’re all friends of convenience. I’m anxious to see what happens when we each go our separate ways and are actually forced to put in effort in order to remain active parts of one another’s lives. I’m excited to see us strive and succeed in our different fields, and we can’t do that if things stay the same. I’m also extremely grateful for the people who have helped to get me to this point, Bison and non-Bison. I’m grateful for their wisdom, support, and the role models that many of them have been to me, particularly as African American professionals.

I guess it’s safe to say that the haze paid off in some way, because my college years have also re-enforced the importance of perseverance and focus, as well as the overall uselessness of being intimidated by individuals. I’ve learned not to take no for an answer, and I have navigated so many ego trips and attitudes (including my own, at times) that they no longer faze me. I know myself: my hopes, fears, dreams, history, strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities, and that is all that matters. I’ve learned to speak my mind and my heart with conviction, and to treat the process of listening as though it were a critical process of filtration. (I guess those are the ultimate collegiate lessons, huh? Reflection, communication, and critical thinking?)

My time at Howard, and this year in particular, has taught me the importance of putting my ideas into action. For example, with the help of some fellow students and friends, I went from reading articles and looking at disturbing images of starving children in Somalia to raising money to actually help them. Ideas+Effort+ (The Right Team)=Results. Even pitching my story ideas to outside outlets was a new and different step for me. However, in seeing the fruits of my labor and watching my ideas actually blossom into tangible entities, I’ve learned the importance of no longer just sitting back and waiting, but working to make things happen.

And believe me…you ain’t seen nothing yet. Congratulations to the rest of the Class of 2012! Our “moment for life” is upon us.

HU, you know! 4 down, and off I go! It’s been real.

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