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Press released: A little ending

My first day as a Mills student.
Photo credit: Talia Payomo

With only days between now and when my fellow graduates accept our diplomas, I find it necessary to reflect on my time at Mills College. Even as I logged off my final class, I was not able to fully grasp my impending reality. I had always anticipated a grandiose ending to my undergraduate years — a large celebration, the cap and gown combined with the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. But because of the current state of the world, I’ve come to terms with not fulfilling those dreams of grandeur celebration.

As a transfer student, Mills college was always my first choice, and after being a student here for almost three academic years, I’ve had many opportunities that shaped my perspective and overall character. One of those experiences was joining the Campanil. 

I started writing as the opinions editor for the paper during the end of my first semester. After remaining in that role for a semester and a half, I then accepted the position of Managing Editor (ME). For those that know me, I am unaccustomed to leadership roles. While I am naturally introverted, and while I take comfort in keeping to myself, I saw the ME role as an opportunity to break out of my reclusive habits. 

I always anticipated that the job would be difficult. Since the Campanil is a student-run paper, a quality that we pride ourselves on, we are constantly facing new challenges that we would ultimately have to undergo alone. It was not easy being a young woman co-managing a campus newspaper during a pandemic and, eventually, under the weight of the sudden institutional transition. But because of the strong community that we’ve established within our newsroom, both in person and virtually, I’ve always felt confident in our team to pull through despite the rapid changes surrounding us. And even as I depart from the Campanil staff, I feel secure knowing that they will have the ability to continue providing the Mills community with journalism that demands accountability and uplifts the voices of students. 

Despite the hardships, I was able to establish many wonderful connections through Mills, which is something I will always be grateful for. I would like to thank my advisor, Elmaz Abinader, who, despite my consistent shyness, encouraged me to put myself forward and to trust in my abilities both within the classroom and in larger communities. I am grateful to professor Truong Tran, who gave me a new perspective on poetry, writing and its practice, as well as professor Sheila Lloyd, who reignited my passion for literary analysis.

I’d like to thank my first journalism professor, Achy Obejas, who established my unwavering journalistic work ethic. I also want to express my gratitude to Angel Fabre, our editor in chief and my partner in crime, who kept me grounded and present during stressful situations. Lastly, I would like to thank my parents, my siblings and friends that have always supported my academic, personal and mental growth. These were the people that made my time at Mills worth every minute. 

So maybe I shouldn’t expect a feeling of completion immediately after graduating. If anything, life is made up of little endings, some of them too small to even notice until they’ve happened. It won’t be a hard line signifying the end of my undergraduate career, but rather a broken one, dispersed in moments of memory and recollection. In the days that follow, I anticipate noticing the changes, and I will then slowly become accustomed to this new phase within my life. Whether this moment becomes little or fantastic, I will accept it as it is, and never once ask for more.