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Confessions of a grad student | My last rites

Well, here it is. This will be the last installment in something that has been cathartic for me: a column that has given my peers a piece of me that’s never exposed on campus. I’ve been the strong, silent type in my classes, never ready or willing to speak about anything. In fact, since I’ve been here, I never really interacted with students as a means of self-defense and protection from potential rejection.

As I am starting my one-year break from academia and entering a new journey to the real world, I can honestly say that my journey as a grad student has been an all-too depressing one. I’ve lost so much in the course of two years, including my voice. I felt like I was incompetent at everything to the point of anxiety and major depression, two half-assed lovers that I’m still grappling with to this day. People who I have loved and have been in my life for years have died this past semester, and I haven’t had the time to grieve properly.

I was also a spoken word poet and creative writer before I came here, expressing myself either through slams, open mics or my black book full of finished and unfinished poems. I want to find my smile again and build myself back up into the strong woman I always was, with my bumbling, yet loving partner along the way. I want to have enlightening moments with cups of green tea, a pen and notebook by my side again.

At the same time, I refuse to give up on my dreams to be a writer and journalist. For the past few nights, I have applied to positions at Essence magazine, Everyday Feminism and even BuzzFeed (damn it, clickbait). My dreams of being a journalist and writer are not going to stop here, even with this last “Confessions” installment.

To practice and start over, my partner has even created a website from scratch for me, all to create a presence in social media and the publishing industry. At the same time, this will be a platform for me to be myself, a record of my trek as a queer Black woman in this society and something that will help women of color on their journeys. It is still in the works in regards to design and layout, but it’s going to get where I want it to be.

This “Confessions” installment is not the end for me. Instead, it is the start of something different, a chance for me to really focus on my personal and professional goals. I came to Mills with big hair, combat boots and optimism. Now, I’m about to leave with bigger hair, the same combat boots and a sense of direction for myself. I’m leaving with a stronger appreciation for literature, a lower tolerance for BS and more determination than I’ve ever had in my life.