This is my last semester as an undergraduate here at Mills. My very last. It’s hard for me to believe that four years ago today I was stressing out about my high school finals and getting ready to commit to a college. Although Facebook’s “On This Day” feature helps me to believe it.
As I have mentioned before, I am the first person in my family to graduate college. It’s not only a big deal for myself but my family too. On May 13, it won’t just be the day that I graduate from Mills; it will also be the day that all of my mom’s sacrifices for me come together and prove everyone who doubted her wrong. It will also be the day that the decisions, changes and support from my great grandma and my grandparents will be recognized. It is going to be a day where I actually show my siblings that anything they set their minds and hearts to is possible. The day where my uncles will see how I have stood up for myself just like they showed me when I was growing up. The day of graduation is going to be one for my family and me.
As you can tell, graduating is a big deal to me. There were times that I was unsure about it. Although I never said these thoughts out loud, there were times when I honestly wanted to quit. I doubted myself and everything I was doing. From my major, my classes, paying tuition and those nights where I felt unbearably homesick, I wanted to give up. I felt like I didn’t belong in college, where the academic language was so extensive and confusing. I felt like I didn’t belong at Mills because I had yet to find the group of friends who could both understand and inspire me. I even felt at times that I had made the wrong choice coming to Mills because that meant I made the choice to leave my family and my boyfriend.
All those times I felt like I was wrong, when I doubted myself and was ready to pack my bags and go home, taught me something though. I learned that I am so much stronger than I ever thought I could be. I always knew I would go to college but I never imagined that I would go away from home. I knew that I would have to work hard to pay for college but I never would have believed I could be a full-time student and work two jobs on top of extracurriculars. Whenever I was in doubt I had to calm myself, go to the gym, talk with someone – be it my mom, a friend or my boyfriend – or something as simple as drinking chamomile tea as I watched The Lion King before going to bed early. It took a lot to push myself in those dark moments, but I did it. Now graduation is only a few months away.
Despite all the hard moments and events that have happened at Mills since I came for orientation, I wouldn’t change anything about my experiences here. I’ve learned both in and out of the classroom about academics, professionalism and society. I have a few more weeks, one last semester, to continue to soak up as much as I can and then I will be walking across the M stage, sending “We did it” thoughts to my family in the crowd and moving my tassel to the other side.