Oberlin Blogs

Dreams to Vision

August 9, 2015

Alexandria Cunningham ’16

"One thing I wish every college student will experience is a life-changing conversation that fills your spirit with such vigor and power that it throws you into action that has no limits for how far it can reach. I hope that you love every moment of it."

Sometimes it just so happens that I have really dope people in my life who talk to me about their dreams, what they are working on and who they hope to become. A couple nights ago fellow blogger Sammie and I were having our usual life chat that left me even more inspired than usual.

During our talk, I shared with her that I am in the beginning stages of launching a creative project that I want her special magic on as well. In a matter of minutes we went from discussing the energy it takes to get creative projects off the ground to making a mutual commitment to support each other's creative work, not only financially, but in whatever ways we can.

I am continually amazed to realize the influence that my mentors and peers have in my life, especially Black women. Oberlin has been a truly unique place in exposing me to so many women, of all sorts and backgrounds, who have this vision of themselves that they understand is attainable and they work, strategize and build to make that vision their reality. At the same time, Oberlin has given me a wealth of real time experience with overcoming challenges like a busy schedule, far too many requests/jobs that need to get done and not enough help or not enough resources to pull things off how they should be done.

If college has taught me anything worth stressing to everyone else it is this: College is not meant to be done alone. You need support, you need help, you need guidance. Find people invested in doing this for and with you and cherish them. My degree might only have my government name on it but believe me an entire village shares that paper with me and I hold them very near and dear to my heart.

"Whatever you discover in life that is worth more to you than your sleep, nurture it. Your passion is closer to you than you think, it is one of those "good" things keeping you up at night."

Something I have found is that I am constantly asking myself what is next? I want it all and because I am aware of that I am very careful about what I put my time and energy into. With a year left of undergrad I have switched gears to thinking about what am I continuing? In the same ways that I am constantly evolving as a person, my aspirations and directions for my lifework grow and that is something that takes a lot of time to reflect on as well.

When I think about my research and its own potential I realize that no matter what I do I need to write. I write for myself, my community and my world and I cannot imagine myself doing anything where writing is not a central component. At the same time, I want to nurture my creative energies in photography. But I also want to be a great community member and go back home and develop youth programs and trainings to address education, inequality and community empowerment. I have options (I know) but sometimes taking the first step is the hardest, right?

"Search for yourself and fall in love again. Promise yourself to wake up better than you went to sleep. Prioritize your energy, break up with your fears and love on all your talents and work."

Now that we are at the end of the post maybe you are wondering what is this project I am working on? What (concretely) is next for me? What is to become of my life?? No worries, I have a couple answers for you.

In the immediate sense, graduate school is next! I will be attending some wonderful (to be announced) program for my PhD in Sociology next fall and that is really exciting. Also, as of next week I will be starting to write to be published in some kind of way so *fingers crossed* on that one.

Finally, my what I am continuing question is being worked out by my creative project that I opened this post talking about. Since it is still very much so in its development stage all I can say it get ready for yet another space to read my writing and see the other ways that self-expression and creativity really can come alive. I anticipate having it ready for the world in the next year so before my very last post ever on the Oberlin Blogs I will make sure to give a last life update that talks about the project more in-depth!

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