In a week through classes, I still cannot believe how incredible college is.
Four days in, everything is a challenge, yet simultaneously so rewarding. I’ve had more reading and more class work than ever. It’s a lot of dense, deep material that is quite the awakening from a four month summer. And for maybe the first day or so, I didn’t know how I could manage to keep it up for the next four years.
But, after a few days, things finally began to click. I’ve gotten engrossed in my reading, discovering new strategies to close-read and get the most out of the texts. I’ve built stronger, more rigorous instincts to take every free moment to study if I can not just to be on top of my work, but because I really enjoy learning in my classes.
Course-wise, I knew what I was going to be jumping into, but I also knew simultaneously that this would be the right decision. I wanted the heaps of reading that I never got to push my curiosity in high school. I know that I’m just going through the first week, but the level with which I’m being forced to think, to grow, is a true privilege that I know I need to take advantage of. It will be a hard road to travel, but this journey in college is the right one for me.
In this week, I’ve seen two Ta-Nehisi Coates talks, one of which I got to ask him a question and just talk to him for a brief minute. That moment will literally replay in my mind over and over and over again, especially since my friend recorded it and I have it forever. I may disagree on certain aspects of his writing, but I cannot deny that both he and his writing is immensely responsible for me even attending the institution I’m going to right now. Between the World and Me changed my life and made me really believe that there was a place for my own voice.
I’ve gone to our school’s first ever black convocation and have repeatedly had my mind blown with knowledge about how our school has a ways to go with race reform. Going somewhere where I know there are actually other students going through the same challenges I’m going through in this PWI is truly something new for me. I am so proud and excited to have conversations and discussions with other black students for the first time.
In this past week, I got a job, made new friends, and most of all, I feel like I have a home in college.
That last point means more to me in particular because I had been hoping for so long that this journey of personal trials and tribulations fighting through the whole high school experience would lead me somewhere meaningful. I wanted so bad for college to be the launching point where I could have a sense of my own belonging and identity. And for the first extended period in a while, I haven’t even thought about holding off being my true self. I won’t deny that UChicago will only get harder and more difficult. But, if I can continue to maintain this personal belief in my own abilities, in the confidence that I can do this, there will be nothing in my way to taking this all in.
Being Noah Tesfaye #101: Embracing It All in College
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