I graduated! (Freaking finally)

Yes, the rumors are true. Yours truly has finally, finally finished undergrad after 9 semesters of kicking ass in DC. I finished my 4.5 years with a Bachelors of the Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies this past Sunday. It’s taken me quite some time to actually gather my thoughts on the culmination of my time here. It honestly hasn’t sunken in fully. Also, I haven’t really had a moment to rest as I’ve been, unsuprisingly, super busy this week. Some things don’t change.

But I am immensely proud of the work I’ve done at AU over the last four years. It has not been an easy journey, hence the extra semester. I have had some serious struggles with my mental health, especially early on. I truly don’t think I believed I would reach this point. Which is why I haven’t stopped posting about it.

As someone who is far too sentimental, I wanted to do some “accounting” of some of the things I’ve done but am honestly overwhelmed just thinking about it. But here’s a small taste of what my time was like:

  • Classes taken: 54
  • Classes failed: 8 (thank you, depression!)
  • Internships I held: 13
  • Student organization executive board positions: 9
  • Volunteer positions: 6
  • Fellowships I’ve been a part of: 4
  • Jobs: 3
  • Arrests for civil disobedience: 1
  • Conferences attended: 15+
  • Conferences I’ve presented at: 4
  • Publications I’ve written for: 12
  • Pieces published: ~50?
  • Roommates: too many <3
  • Protests/rallies/marches/vigils attended: too many to count
  • Shabbat dinners: too many to count
  • Late-night conversations: too many to count
  • Cups of coffee: I legit don’t want to know (I apologize to my liver)
  • Friends made: enough to make me the most grateful person ever. I couldn’t have done this without you.

My time at AU has been incredibly special. I am deeply and eternally grateful to everyone who had a positive impact on my time here. I’d like to shout out American University Hillel, specifically Molly Cram and Mollie Feldman for being the best guides on my Jewish journey, who showed me the beauty that Judaism has to offer; the Center for Diversity and Inclusion for the support and room to grow as an advocate; the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center where I rediscovered my love for education and anti-violence work, especially to Maya and Sara who took me under their wings; Professor Stef Woods for nudging me in the right direction with this website, publishing my work, and presenting at an academic conference; Naomi Malka who gave me the gift of mikvah; and the women in my life who had my back like no other: Summer, Jesy, Annabel, Haley, Jamie, and Hannah Ruth. I am who I am because you are the ones who have shown up for me, supported me, ranted with me, laughed with me, cried with me, and loved me. I love you all so much.

And to my family who put up with my antics, supported me from Boston (and Tenly!), and made it possible to live where I live and do what I do. I am forever grateful. I love you.

It’s been a privilege to be here and I count my blessings every day. Not one day goes by where I am not in awe of the fact that I get to live here and do the most meaningful work I can think of. Thank you, deeply, for everyone who had an affect on me here.

Below are some of the best pictures from my graduation day and the photographs taken before. I couldn’t imagine getting my grad pics taken anywhere else but the Supreme Court, the place I volunteered for the first time, went to my first protest, spoke out at a vigil for thousands of people, slept outside before a protest, decided to change my major, got arrested for civil disobedience, attended hundred of protests and rallies and marches. SCOTUS has been a home away from home for me in many ways and, in many ways, I found my voice on that plaza. These pictures are a quirky homage to that.

I’d also like to note how special my outfit was that day, and not just because I rocked that jumpsuit. I received the rainbow stole from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and it represents the Lavender graduation, a blue-and-white cord from She’s the First—the first org I ever got involved in, and a medal for philanthropy to AU, specifically to both Hillel (where I was deeply involved) and the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center where I was the Sexual Violence Prevention Intern. 

My cap is an image from the first Suffragist march on Washington in 1913. Actress Hedwig Reicher portrayed “Columbia,” the personification of justice and liberty popular in the 1910s. The full quote is: “Forward out of Darkness, Leave Behind the Night, Forward Out of Error, Forward Into Light” and was carried on a banner by Inez Milholland. 

Last but not least is my favorite earring combination, with RBG’s face in my top piercing and her dissent collar in my bottom piercing. She’s my hero and good luck charm and I couldn’t imagine walking across the stage without her. 

So here are the pics that sum up the last four-and-a-half incredible years. Forward!

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