Raised By A Village

Dinah B. Salomon

Twelve schools man. That is the number of schools I applied to during my final year of high school. Out of those twelve schools, ONE accepted me. And to tell you the truth I actually got waitlisted. See, I wasn’t exactly your model student, not in the positive way anyway. There were many years of failing classes, failing my mom and myself. Everyone who knew me then can attest that my period of being lost felt like forever. Therefore, when it came to the end of high school and figuring out what the next step was, it was then I knew I had screwed up. Letter after letter was a “No thank you” or a “yeah you seem cool but the others seem cooler”.

I mean what did I expect? Who was going to waste their time on someone with a transcript like mine? Then came that one, that one out of twelve. Curry College gave me that shot. They looked past my haunting history and saw a much brighter future for me and it was up to me to see it for myself. Something I can say about my 4 years there is that I am exceedingly who they wanted me to be. Your initial expectation of what college will be is usually correct. It will be a cluster of fun, freedom and the ability to run around all day with your friends. However, there’s another side that people never tell you about; the side you can’t prepare for. Like once you screw up one class, your GPA is in the crapper or when you’re having a bad day the day doesn’t stop you have to keep going.

I remember emailing my professor explaining how crazy my day had been and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it time for class, their response was: Great for reaching out, see you for the second half of class! – Cheers. From then on, I decided if I wasn’t going to class it was way better to shoot the email after class was already over to avoid their guilt trip. There were also times I felt so alone and I was the only one having a hard time. Yeah definitely felt that way too many times, but then come the end of every semester I always realize that I didn’t do it alone.

First came the professors. Professors became advisors then advisors became friends. It is without a doubt that the people who have taught me molded me into the student that worked for their grade. My very first inspiration, professor and now advisor Michelle Perrault; a woman with confidence and grace she is who I embodied. The infamous Grant Burrier; the one always down for the culture infused his affinity for politics and history in me and inspired me to declare a minor in it. I also have to thank him for his astounding support for my growth and taking me to Cuba to study their political system. Thank you to the raging Melissa Anyiwo, who everyone told me to stay away because she supposedly never gives A’s, I am proud to announce that it is in fact not true. She taught me what it was to really learn your history. Being able to learn from her was a great honor and double that because she was the only black professor I had in my undergraduate career. Last but not least, Maria Droganova and quantitative methods. Yes, that is the type of class you go home and cry about and no that did not stop her from calling me out in class. One day she told me that there is significantly less women representation in scholarly fields because we are more afraid to speak up even when we’re wrong. As crazy Maria was at that time, she was right. I mean of course she had the data to back it up but even without it, I had seen it within myself. She was a wonder woman, a math Goddess, she devoted her time to make me great and for that, I am so grateful.

All these accolades boils down to a specific point, it took a village to raise me. Professors have raised me, the mixed community shook me and my beautiful friends have loved me when I was at my very lowest and it was all because Curry College was that one. I wish that the perfect euphoria called college could’ve lasted forever, but nothing ever does. Through loads of trial and error I came out on top and that is something I’ll always be proud of.

A degree in one hand and peace sign in the other because student loans are already knocking at my front door! So like Nipsey Hussle (RIP THE DON) said, “the game will test you, never fold. Stay ten toes down, it’s not on you it’s in you and what’s in you they can never take away.” Don’t ever let your past define you. I have what I have because of God’s grace and he gets the final say, just get ready to do the work. OKURRRRRT. 

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