Saturday, December 20, 2014

my first semester of college

CC: Everyone who has put up with me from June forward.

SUBJECT: My Fist Semester of College
     This past week, when prompted to share feelings about my first semester of college, I have only been able to awkwardly hum while pursing my lips with eyelids wide open. Dissatisfaction with my academic performance, oscillation of emotions towards the relationship status of my institution, and confusion in relation to who-I-am/who-I-want-to-be all are/the-usual-existentialist-crisis all are influencing factors of this reply. Yet, now, four hundred miles away from Berkeley, I am able to honestly describe my first semester of college: turbulent -- making it difficult to decide to distinguish first semester as a journey completed opposed to one survived. Regardless of my inability to choose a verb, I am -- excuse my obligatory count down towards undergraduate freedom -- seven semesters away from graduation. 2018 shadows much closer behind than my limited view of the future allows and in knowing this I want to remember as many moments possible during my college career; hence, this video attachment below. ‪#‎IfYouReallyKnewMe‬ you'd know that I have been excessively recording for over twenty weeks to put this together. I, actually, was supposed to wait a year; but, choosing through so many memories to share would be hella challenging. So, attached is a video of my T E R B U L E N T first semester.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014


How, I keep incredulously wondering. How am I supposed to engage and study in an environment that features effigies hung at university landmarks and contains tear gas filtering in from windows slightly ajar? How do I celebrate the diversity my campus boasts, though I am aware that the population consists of less that 1,000 Black students' among the more than 31,000 overall? How am I supposed to proudly distinguish myself as a golden bear when, actually, I am a black bear undergoing the hazing of higher education in being spray painted golden. When my many unanswered questions are silenced, how?

Despite of how smoothly the defiant cry of "I'm not!" can slide through my lips, the realistic reply to my questions must learned to be as easily be spit out. Unfortunately, this response is along the lines of myself acting as expected of a student attending the number one public university in the nation, myself in accordance to the role of a low income, student of color privileged to be enrolled in an highly ranked institution. My first semester has allowed me to discover that within the rhetoric that my fellow freshman and I are emerged into when stepping onto campus there exists the assumption that all incoming students' exist as self motivated learners. This assumption violently steps on our academic achievement of high-school to announce — note: with failing encouragement — that we can repeat the success that has allowed for our current entrance to the university. I, now, understand this to stand in absence of the consideration of adversity. I, along with about 6,000 counterparts, am an "adult now" and I should "be able to care for myself". Yet -- yes, more questions -- how do I self care when the institution that profits from my very enrollment can only respond to acts of racially fueled terrorism with halfhearted offers of extended hours of counseling services, with additional dates llamas are brought to campus to be pet by students. Five seconds with a domestic animal will not delete the viral videos of students being brutally attacked by police officers in the name of their corruptly defined justice nor erase the viral pictures of effigies being hung at the exact same spot. However, in these brief five seconds, I can confirm that, like the llamas, we, the Black community, are only the center of attention when the university allows for us to be seen -- note: still not heard; again, like the animals. The administration continues with claiming that they have reached out to take firm grasp of the hands of our blacks students to aid us during this triggering time. But, when our hands have been chained to begin with, how can we accept this help that NOTE: has been highlighted in campus wide emails from the chancellor but invisible from the inbox of leaders in the Black community.

My words may oscillate between questions and complains; however, all remain unanswered. Should I take fault in asking how?

© hello zaynab. All rights reserved.