And you may find yourself

…and you may ask yourself, how did I get here?
-Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime”

I’ve been in New York for two weeks. It’s long enough for me to fill a kitchen with the necessities, unpack my stuff, and for things to finally sink in. That I live here. That I go to Columbia. I can plan to do things and see friends weeks from now.¬†The dream is finally real, and now it’s time to get to work.¬†

There have been many moments, some overwhelming, some overwhelmingly great, when I realize the next nine months will change my life. That’s not just being twee or with rose-coloured glasses. Today I took my first class¬†with Jelani Cobb. That doesn’t happen every day.

When my mom was here for the first five days – helping watch over my stuff, buy my necessities at Target, make sure I went to all my orientations, and even meeting some of my friends – I realized how much I wanted for her to realize going to Columbia was a win for both of us. It was so much of her sacrifice, her primary parenting, her tremendous effort and support, that helped¬†me to get to the brick-lined campus at 116th and Broadway. I wanted to show her I didn’t take it for granted.

“It’s the Ivy League.” Mom said this at least twice, each time with a grin and large dollop of awe in her voice. I could only grin back at her in reply.

I know I will learn so much this year Рabout journalism, about business, about the city and where I want to go next in my career. But one of the biggest lessons already came in the first week: how I have truly made my mother proud by simply being myself.

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