This Feels Like a Great Time to be Emotional and a Grateful Mess

In just over two weeks, I graduate with my Master’s in the Humanities (Concentration: Justice, Activism, and Solidarity), a limited-residency program from Arizona’s Prescott College. Graduating from this program is something I am so proud of and excited for. I’ve loved this institution. Several weeks ago, I had a chance to say a word at an on-campus graduate celebration. I noted there that attending Prescott College hasn’t changed who I am, it’s just made me more of who I would have been but might not have been if I had gone elsewhere.

I picked up my regalia today and plans are underway for graduation celebrations. However, I wanted to take a moment to offer a debt of deep and sincere gratitude to so many people who have provided with some of the strongest support structures an individual could have asked for. This seems as good a time as any to be deeply emotional and reflective about this mind-blowing, completely transformational experience.

First to my brother Jesse, my sister-from-another-mother Amy, and two more best friends friends Ariel & Christian. You all gave me so much strength and support in these past two years and I’m eternally grateful for that. I would not have made it throughout this program without the shoulder to lean on, pancakes to laugh or cry over, a new story to read. Thank you.

And I also want to thank my mentors Todd and Ned. Attending to Prescott College, moving here to support the work of my students as they become community organizers or journalists, deciding to continue on with my doctorate program, has been a series of life-changing decisions made at the many crossroads of life. I have been eternally lucky to be guided by two amazing community organizers, incredible mentors and friends. Ned, you taught me how to be an organizer. You also taught me how to build the most trusting, authentic relationships I can and to invest in myself; I will never forget that. Todd, you trusted me to share my organizing world with your students, and in doing so I learned to better trust myself. I am also very grateful for all the support you offered me this semester in the move to Prescott. Thank you for the laughs, the guidance, the food. You both took a chance on me and taught me to take a chance on myself. Thank you both.

I also wanted to thank everyone at Asamblea (Pablo, Antonia, Gloria, Melina, all of you wonderful people), my friends and comrades. You’ve taught me to see the world with new eyes and that has made all the difference as I move forward with the world. I’ve said this to you before, but to me you are what the world should look like. I’ll always stand with Asamblea. I’m also so, so grateful to Mike at The UpTake and Bruce & Kris, the best damn co-workers (and editor) a young journalist could have asked for. Thank you for the lessons learned, the laughs had, and the amazing work we did together.

To Mack, you and I have started to plan for a new world, a world we’re building together. Thank you for believing in me and for walking with me into this brave new world. You hold me accountable to myself and you’re an amazing friend.

And to the Loehrs. Dustin, I am so grateful that you are in my life as my friend and business partner. Your passion, authenticity, humbleness, talent, the world needs more people like you. And Caila, while you & I never went to school together officially, you have been an irreplaceable part of my college experience. I’m so excited for the work we get to do through Transformative Arts Productions. We’re on to something amazing here and I wouldn’t want to be doing so with anybody else.

To the wonderful people I met at Prescott College- my student-peers (the SJHR cohort and the Journalism class), Haley, GTAP and Joel, Bev, Joan, my cohort-thank you for everything you taught me.

And finally, to my family. My parents, my grandmothers, my aunts and uncles and cousins. You all are the most wonderful, fabulous people I could have had in my life. I missed you all in this graduate-school induced radio silence and I love you all so much.

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