My exponential growth I nurtured at Penn was not at all smooth or pleasant often, but oh, have I grown and my eyes have opened to the pain and bureaucracy and fear that surrounds life. I am afraid of adulthood and my future, and I have grown to accept the uncertainty laced in life’s motions. My passions transitioned out of just elementary and middle school math teaching to mental wellness, alternative forms of medicine, and deep advocacy of self care and demand for care from corporations that profit off of our bodies. 

My first year was filled with heavy transitions from a sheltered home life, compromising roommate situations and gaining/shedding friendships here and there. I suffered from deep sadness and loss after a solemn summer; my uncle died and I was sexually assaulted. Coming into my second year I had higher hopes in my journey to find who I was and who really cared for me with genuine passion and empathy, without judgment. I found the love of my life and we continue to be happy to this day, and I dove into the deep intellectual and “sophist-iratchet” friendships I cultivated. My love for all who are marginalized grew with vocabulary, theory and praxis. I learned to take steps away from people places and things that devoured my energy and positivity. In my third year I only grew closer to my best friends and my partner, in light of the ambiguity I found in my own life and desires. I am truly blessed from joining my wonderful sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, which cultivated my leadership and professional skills, and bonded me to a sisterhood I truly needed to keep going even when life had me really down. 

In this final year, the urgent yet frivolous need to finish work weighed on my soul in light of the real racial and gendered turbulence on campus. I felt and still sometimes feel powerless. The colored, crippled, queer, indigenous, disabled, and generally othered are being tortured and killed under the reign of systemic bureaucratic violence and my own school harbors racist, sexist and most importantly privileged individuals who lacked sympathy against the pain rumbling in the streets all over our nation and internationally. I harbored the intense pain for my brothers and sisters everywhere. 

Sometimes I wonder if freshman year me would’ve liked what she became, and in light of the deep suffering, confusion and hopelessness I cultivated from information connecting like it never had before, I’m sure she would be proud and honored that I am still here and ready to walk across that stage in May. Resilience, patience and perseverance had never been so alive in my life until being blessed and cursed by Penn. At the end of the day I will find what makes me happy, and what I can do to aid against the entrenched violence my country perpetuates upon the backs of those who built it. 

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