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Confessions of a grad student | The final rounds

(Emily Mibach)
(Emily Mibach)

Well, it’s my final semester at Mills and honestly…I couldn’t be more excited about it.

In my last few installments I ranted about the train wreck that I call my fall semester. What’s made me optimistic about this semester?

For starters, I’m ending my journey as a graduate student in the English & American Literature program at Mills. Soon, it’ll be May and I’ll be in my cap and gown, celebrating with people who have always supported me from the very beginning of my grad career: my family and partner.  I’ll be packing for a new apartment (hopefully in the Bay so that I can stay close by for the friends I’ve made here), starting a new journey working for a year or two and working on the steps for a Ph.D. in English like I planned. Overall, it’ll be the end of this road (pardon the corniness) and down a new one for me, and I can’t wait for it.

Second, I’m working on this final semester not only on my courses, but on myself. Like I’ve said before, self-preservation and self-love is pivotal in any program one has chosen to attend, especially with cases of Impostor Syndrome. I’ve started going on morning hikes and runs, as well as strength training and yoga again. Exercise has always been one of my favorite things to relieve stress, and so far it’s been working for me.

I also started a happiness jar for this year, writing down one or two good things that happened that day on a small sheet of paper and placing it in a jar. This exercise has helped me become more optimistic about what will come the next day, slowly relieving my depression and anxiety. So in song titles, I’m going from the depressing theme song of “Daria” to Stevie Wonder’s happy song “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” with these changes.

One thing that I’ve thought about with this installment is something that my mom and partner agree on about me. They both appreciate my strength and determination: to finish moves that I started, to go on with days that seem so hopeless to me, to even inspire them and people close to me to focus on their goals. I’m starting to see my own strength as a first-generation, queer (Black) woman of color to attend and finish my B.A., and now my master’s degree.

I just need to finish these last few bouts of papers, discussions and work with the strength that I’ve always had, and just get ready to graduate. *starts playing D’Angelo’s “Greatdayndamornin”*