Nine minutes ago*, I finished the last final of my junior year. Now I will share with you a list of lessons learned from my third year in college. I’ve been (somewhat) consistent since freshmen year, sophomore year, and half-way through junior year. Here we go once more:
- I finally found my walk-up song (shout out to Sarah and Acy). It’s Anyway by Tori Kelly. Go listen to it, text me if you agree, or suggest another song that embodies my essence.
- It’s never too late to make new friends.
- If you want a tattoo, go out and get one (after saving up, of course).
- There might be days when you break down crying, but it’s okay because your family and friends are only one call away (especially if they’re your ‘favorites’ on your phone).
- Go to lecture as often as you can muster up the courage to because reviewing 300+ slides in the span of two days before your final is demoralizing.
- Sitting outside and basking in the sun is therapeutic.
- Chirping birds at 5am is stress-inducing.
- Dance whenever, wherever, and with whomever.
- Make playlists even if you’re not “into music” because then I can add you on Spotify and stalk you on another social media platform.
- Be bold even if your hands are shaking and your breath is wavering.
- Pay attention to your school’s basketball team because when a stranger in a bagel shop in NYC starts a conversation with you about their recent win in the ACC championship, you want to say something more substantial than “Uh huh? Really? Wow!”
- Invest in a white noise machine.
- When a friend calls you and needs you then all you need to do is simply listen.
- Find yourself and when you do, revel in it.
*It took me a while to finish writing this post…
*A text sent at 1:58pm on April 25, 2017 by E.K.
Three papers for a total of 25 pages over a span of three days. I’ve known about this hellish week since the beginning of the semester, but I didn’t actually begin to panic until last Thursday. Since then I have been internally screaming, gulping too much coffee, and taking naps at 10pm so I can wake up at 1am to begin my long morning.
Here’s to the last week of my junior year.
“Sometimes, I’m suddenly overwhelmed with worry. It’s as if someone is clutching my arm. Dragging me down.”
I still feel this way.
I support affirmative action, but I recently encountered someone who firmly disagrees. I was in a position in which I could not bring up my opposition or break down her argument. I will deconstruct her here. I mean, I will deconstruct her argument.
- Colleges claim affirmative action increases diversity of the student population, but what is the point if there are student groups like Asian Students Association or Black Students Movement?
In other words, students of color stick together and don’t integrate themselves. Thus, affirmative action achieves nothing since the population is not diverse.
Why are you opposed to the idea of having spaces where white people are not found? Note I didn’t say “allowed” because both student groups are explicitly clear in being open to non-Asian or non-Black students. Spaces without white people are not products of reverse-racism. These spaces do not exist as part of a system of oppression. Rather, they exist as a counterbalance to the system of oppression. Let me simplify it for you.
This university is predominately white. This town is predominately white. This state is predominately white. This country is predominately white. White people make up the majority.
ASA and BSM are two student groups in a predominately white space on four different levels (see above). If racism is defined as oppressing people based on their race and/or ethnicity, then where is the oppression taking place? Are you, a white student, affected by the existence of a predominately-Asian or Black space? If ASA or BSM were to disappear, would you be affected?
The answer is no. You would continue to live in a predominately-white space. Talk to me when these groups gain ACTUAL power and begin to shape your life to such an extent that you fear for your existence.
People of color do not exist to educate you. We are not tokens to flash at others so you can taunt your wealth of diversity. Why do you assume that these organizations are proof of the failures of affirmative action? Why didn’t you ask yourself, “Hmm, where are the white students and who are they sticking with?” Oh, I know where they are. They’re over there in Frat Court. I’m sorry. Aren’t you familiar with the Greek system? The historically racialized institution that systematically excludes minorities. Is the Greek system another example of a shortcoming of affirmative action? Or do your examples only work if you target students of color and their supposed inability to fraternize with other races?
By the way, if you’re wondering why there isn’t a group similar to ASA and BSM for white students then look no further, I have your answer.
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL IS YOUR ASA AND BSM.
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA IS YOUR ASA AND BSM.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS YOUR ASA AND BSM.
“How are you?”
“I’m doing better.”
Better isn’t equivalent to good. The -er indicates a difference from a previous state. Last semester, I wasn’t doing so well, but now I’m better. I’m not wholly healed though.
“Better? What do you mean?”
Well, I don’t know. All I can say is last semester is when I felt like I had fallen into a deep ditch and I had no intention of crawling back out. In fact, I was content on the ground. My body didn’t ache. My heart wasn’t broken. My mind was empty.
“How did you fall?”
I’m not sure. I can’t trace my depression back to a single source. It wasn’t because of a boy nor was it because of my busy schedule. And I can’t tell if my diluted relationship with God was a factor. All I can say is that I fell and it felt really good to turn my back on everything else.
To be honest, nothing changed and that’s my biggest fear. What if I wake up and I’ve fallen again? I get the itch to stumble every now and then. I’ll wonder, “could I skip these classes and still pass? what if I called in sick to work? do I really need to meet up with them?” The list of possible ways to avoid all interaction, to stay in my room, to not get up still exists. I push it out of sight, out of mind, but it bobs up like a buoy.
There isn’t a lesson learned from this experience because I think I’m still going through it. I haven’t yet climbed out, but I’m on my way.
Have you ever looked down and noticed a loose thread? You decided it would be wise to pull and so you did. But as you pulled, the weight of your decision grew in the pit of your stomach because everything was unraveling and there was no way to undo it. The loose thread was loose no more and all you had was a clump of yarn to justify your decision.
26 minutes ago, I finished my last final. It wasn’t like my first year of college when I walked (or possibly even strutted) out with a giant grin and plopped down on the grass. I trudged out of the building, bid adieu to my horrendous 8 o’clock class, and returned my textbooks. There was no relief, satisfaction, or sense of achievement.
I just wanted to go home.
But before I leave, I’ll share a few (or a dozen) lessons learned this semester.
- Spending time by yourself can recharge you, but loneliness will drain you.
- Sometimes, your friends might be too busy to stop and check up on you so do it yourself.
- But don’t turn them away either.
- There’s such a thing as “soul sadness.”
- As often as you critique yourself, do you ever take the time to appreciate yourself?
- You can’t always be in control.
- Mourn the loss of magical mochas.
- Cancer is scary.
- Always take out your laptop when going through security at the airport or else the cranky TSA people will bark at you.
- I’m sure your mom loves you, but calling her three times in a single day while walking somewhere is excessive.
- Shout out to moms who we can always count on to pick up the phone.
- Respond to texts as soon as possible. In other words, it’s not cool to ignore your phone for days at a time.
- When someone asks “how are you?” it’s okay to say more than “fine,” but don’t consider it an impromptu therapy session.
- Crying isn’t a sign of weakness.
- It gets better.