My first month of college, bright-eyed and giggly I passed by a group of students handing out posters. FREE POSTER YEAH, I thought. I just had to write my name down, email, and then they handed it to me: a black and white poster of Hillary Clinton’s face.
I desperately needed dorm decorations, and I desperately needed an identity–something to tell me that I stood for something. Here I was, thrust into a new place, with no idea about who I was and how the world worked. I came from an all-girls Catholic high school–a school where in health class we learned about abstinence. A school where we signed up to volunteer to picket outside abortion clinics. A school where we were told that as women, we could be anything we wanted–as long as it wasn’t control over our own bodies.
As I meandered through my freshman year of college, I came into contact with strong women who had opinions that I was too afraid to have. I became comfortable with the idea that I had a say over my own body. That the sexual micro-aggressions my friends and I had experienced in high school were not just me thinking that we were prudes, or immature, or not like other girls. That the churning I got in my stomach when a boys told me I wasn’t pretty, and so I didn’t matter, wasn’t irrational.
My college experience has been defined by politics. I wasn’t political before coming to BU, and I wasn’t social aware. I was so un-phased by the institutionalized racism, sexism, and xenophobia that plagued our nation. It was here in college, when I woke up.
My college experience has been defined by Hillary Clinton–from the moment I hung her poster up on my wall, to the moment I filled in the dot next to her name I was with her, and what she stood for. And even now, filled with a deep feeling of loss, an overwhelming fearfulness, and a nervousness for the world my niece has to face as she grows up with heaps stacked against her, I am with her. I am with women, I am with women of color. I am with the LGBTQ community, and with #Blacklivesmatter . I am here. And I can do more.
I will grieve today, and tomorrow I will try to be better.