This is my last semester at my current college, and I have to say the experience has been amazing. Although it has, many times, caused me great stress and frustration, I am leaving with a sense of satisfaction.
School, and the piece of paper it comes with, was an abstract idea in my mind before I re-enrolled in college. The impression I had was that I would be of more social value if I obtained this piece of paper claiming I gave years of my life to knowledge. I would be more respected, be able to find a better job, and maybe be taken seriously when I sent my stories out. These were my thoughts, and some of them still remain, but what I’ve learned the most valuable thing I’ve gained from my time back in college is my capacity to understand culture/s.
One of the greatest things about living in New York is that almost no one tries to prevent education about other cultures, or hide the realities of their mindsets and histories. The professors I’ve had have introduced me to books I never would have read on my own, but have become some of my favorites. I hardly read non-fiction, but King Leopold’s Ghost and A Small Place are now at the top of my list for life-changing written works. I went through preschool to twelfth grade, as well as two previous colleges before I learned about the holocaust that took place under King Leopold’s reign in the Congo. The same goes for corruption and colonization in Antigua (the small place).
My final semester has some of the most interesting novels, autobiographies, and biographies I’ve read. They are:
Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I’m very excited to finally get my first degree and move on to the second one. I’ve gained some valuable writing skills, and feel confident enough to begin a new re-write of my novel. To Education!