Dear Senior Year,
Exciting. Eager. Overwhelming. Eye-opening. Motivating. Exhausting. Draining. Scary. Unpredictable. Heartbreaking.
You are all of these to me, and more.
I expected to hold you for a little longer. I wanted to celebrate with you in May. My family from Texas, Montana, and California were all eager to celebrate you with endless gatherings and ceremonies. However, I will not get to experience those last moments with you…or my friends who have become family. As we go our separate ways, who knows when I will get to see them again? Everyone is located in different places of the country, and many of them have accepted jobs and/or graduate school opportunities. There are a few in Texas…some in New York…a couple in D.C…etc. I had no idea that my goodbyes from spring break would be my final interaction with those special people. The uncertainty of when I will see my people again, along with the overwhelming emotions that this pandemic is causing is completely, and utterly, heartbreaking. I wish you could’ve made it just a little longer. However, you didn’t always spark sorrow. There was a point in time when you overwhelmed me in the best way possible.
During our times together, I created and strengthened relationships with my friends, mentors, advisors, and professors. I am beyond grateful because these are folks who helped me understand myself in a genuine and authentic way…y’all are stuck with me for life! Senior year, you truly aided me in recognizing my passion in life: social justice. I always knew I wanted to help and serve people in life; however, you helped me navigate my constant and persistent efforts to educate others and myself about marginalized identities and the inequalities within the structures and systems in society.
If it weren’t for you, I would not have been introduced to ShoutOut! Having the opportunity to write for this blog has been a blessing in my life. As a black woman who attended a predominantly white institution, I felt an urgency throughout my spirit and mind to talk about the issues and lived experiences that I have encountered. This brave space provided me with an emotional outlet to not only reflect on my life, but to also write about feminism for as long and as much as I wanted to. What else could I need? A quote that embodies my experience with this blog is stated by Audre Lorde when she said:
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
Senior Year, while our time was cut short, you taught me the criticality of the relationships within my life. I will not be able to see you again, or celebrate you; however, you will never be forgotten. I am forever indebted to you for the relationships, passions, love, growth, self-awareness, and education that you have sparked in my experience at James Madison University. So, farewell to ShoutOut!, JMU, and you, Senior Year…this chapter may be over in my life, but it is just the beginning of a new journey.