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    Spring backward. #photoaday #flowerstagram #firstdayofspring #spring #lastofwinter ❄️❤️ So yesterday, I ran a poetry workshop at a middle school and hearing the words from these youth, I feel a lot better about the world. One boy wrote a poem & was very shy about reading it. I offered to read it for him. To my surprise, he wrote about people wanting freedom and not being “illegal.” I hope he finds the courage some day to read the poem because these days, hate voices itself louder than love. Our kids deserve better role models. I didn’t grow up thinking about my immigration status, but I think many children have to now. 💔I’m at a very low point in my hope bank. I’m taking notes on how to say goodbye to a country. I think one way is love and one way is poetry.
#loveislouder #happyworldpoetryday This Sunday I made it to church at a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I arrived as a panelist for an immigration and human rights discussion. My audience was majority White. I started with a poem and then my college journey narrative. It is a heavy feeling to be a person who potentially faces deportation or undocumented status and to stand in front of an audience that though sympathetic, cannot imagine what your world is like. They listened to me and the other panelists very actively. One of the panelists, Klara Bilgin, showed us this poster-size cover of Time magazine’s March issue with her own addition “Why America?” At the end I was surprised that most people had comments rather than questions. When we say immigration is a controversial issue or a “hot topic,” it’s true. I got to see it today by people commenting on their experience traveling abroad without borders or their observations of how much labor is expected of undocumented immigrants. Many of them were proposing solutions. I wish Congress were as productive as these people were in their 15 or so minutes to comment and ask questions. #rageatCongress #votesmart #speakup Little sister poem. Be woke.❤️ #ajamonet #poem
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1,000 miles: step 20

Last semester, I applied to  Hollins University, an extremely small and private liberal arts school. It simply echoed the education I received at Simon’s Rock. Hollins, however, has a lot more going for it. What caught my eye the most was its strong creative writing program and its closeness to home. Hollin’s in Roanoke, Virginia, and though far to the south,  I would have fallen head over heels with the campus.

And I mean that. The first time I visited Great Barrington, Massachusetts for orientation week, the week before starting classes at Simon’s Rock, was the first time I had stepped foot at Simon’s Rock. I had seen pictures and read a lot about the school, but I had no doubt that when I stepped foot on campus, I would be at home. And that’s how it was.

I felt and feel the same about Hollins. I know it is a wise choice to visit school campuses before attending a school. But I am full of faith when it comes to places rooted in nature.

Something else about Hollins: it’s all-girls at the undergrad level. My mum, she wants me to expect the worst from men. Hollins would have eased her fears. And it would have also been an opportunity for greater intellectual growth—after all, women have been silenced far too much throughout history.

And so, when an envelope from Hollins University arrived in the mail today, I got curious. When I picked it up, and felt its weight, that of a feather, I already knew it was a fear come true.

I have written a piece for the Residency Now campaign, sharing the difficulties of being a TPS college student, and I confessed, “When I apply to 4 year transfer schools, the scariest thing is being accepted and not having the financial means to attend.”

And that’s what the letter of acceptance and rejection said, along with this: “You are a high caliber student and we wish we had better news.” The news was that as an international student, which is what I become when I apply to schools, Hollins didn’t have much aid to offer me.

The money they did offer is a lot for an international student. But I cannot and will not repeat the financial struggle of Simon’s Rock.

And yet, the news that a college–not an open-enrollment college like NOVA– accepted me is relieving. It’s what my advisors tell me come true: schools will want a student like you. It’s always hard to believe because of the misleading GED diploma I carry with me. Also, as is typical of a young women, I allow mirrors to twist any beauty that comes my way.

And the desire for intellectual beauty takes people far. I can only hope God is willingly to walk with me, whether I eat an apple or a plum as I get there.

And dear reader, that is all my heart is willingly to share for today.

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