Me: Ma, your curls are just popping; let me take a picture of you!
Grandma: I know they are. Okay, let me put on some lipstick.
My grandmother has no shame. She loves any opportunity to be acknowledged for her beauty which I absolutely love about her. Getting older sometimes can be discouraging because you think your looks are fleeting and no one finds you attractive anymore but she gets compliments every day. People stop her on the street to tell her how amazing her hair looks or how well she did her makeup. She’s beautiful. Her curls are so defined. They just twirl out of her head when she wears it in a wash and go. I had to capture this moment. It made me happy to know that she was happy.
Four years ago I graduated from college. Unlike my peers, I was not happy about this accomplishment. During my senior year, I applied to Teach for America and did not get in, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Teaching was not in my destiny in this context (I later became a Sunday school teacher which was more aligned with my purpose), but what the application process of Teach for America did reveal to me was how much debt I accumulated during my four years of college.
When I saw all those zero’s, I couldn’t believe it. I cried, screamed, yelled, and resented my degree. I resented everything it stood for because the knowledge that I gained in undergrad wasn’t worth that kind of money. I wrote to President Obama because the government was also on my angry list. I couldn’t believe we lived in a country where education, to ultimately make a decent living could be so expensive, especially when there are countries like Sweden, Denmark, and even Germany that sponsor their citizen’s college education. The President responded but clearly, there was nothing he could do.
When I walked across the stage I reluctantly took my degree. A few days later, I packed my bags, got settled back into my apartment in Brooklyn and began to search for jobs. I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I only had until December to figure out my life or else I would be in big trouble with those loan sharks. I applied to jobs daily. I was desperate, willing to take on anything, but what I noticed was that a lot of these positions wanted people with 1-3 years of experience. Immediately, I felt like I hit a wall. Finally, I decided to put my life in God’s hands. I prayed for miracles, started going to church, and lived my life by taking advantage of this time off. I started to volunteer. I worked for Catholic Charities for 2-months until I was offered a paid position there. My starting salary would be $26k. I remember being so excited when they gave me my offer letter. I called my mom and told her my volunteering efforts landed me my first job. Continue reading “Four Years!”