After 121 credit hours, the deed is done. I along with thousands of people are now college graduates ready to put these degrees to good use. Things were challenging from the ground up; with the passing of my father during the first semester, moments of financial stress, trying to keep a healthy balance with self-care and friendships and adventure as much as I can while maintaining my scholarship.

As each semester went by, I discovered more of the political aspect that falls in the atmosphere where you can't represent the school in student leadership because it rocks the boat of propaganda that promotes polished positivity in its marketing. Not to mention, there's a layer pristine of self-righteousness among few leaders feeling holier-than-thou. Dealing with that got more exhausting than preparing my capstone paper. My last semester turned into a competition as the only other female in my field and I were trying to out-do each other basically every day.

But, I found my best friends, and that made it worth it.

I was the only person from my school district who came out to Virginia for college after my high school graduation. I was happier than ever that nobody knew a thing about me so that I would not get blackballed when trying to make friends. While discovering who I really am, I found a cluster of diamonds disguised as people who accept me for who I am among an ocean of small-minded folks who were wrapped around their reputation that they couldn't associate with just anyone.

I learned the hard way that people aren't always gonna be there for you, everyone who smiles in your face is not your friend. When you truly love someone, you care about their well-being just as much as your own even if that means letting that friendship go for you both to reach your full potential.

I know who I am now, and I love every bit of her.

If the walls of my dorm could talk, you'd hear an earful. From the freshman girl with balls to ask someone to Winter Ball to the senior with such a target on her back. I became a conqueror from having my legs cut from under me junior year giving me the chance to wake up to everything around me, calling nonsense out for what it is and not apologizing for it. My transparent personality made me one of the most well-known students in my class from just being myself.

There's so much more to tell about my experience. When I look back at this time, I'm not gonna think about the stress from assignments but that I made it through the storm with the people who got me through it. I graduated proudly with the journey I had because every hill and valley was worth it. Now I am a college graduate with a job right out of college who bought her first car. I'm ready to see how this adulthood thing pans out.