I'm still stuffed from Thanksgiving, and I'm still thankful.
This semester has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. That partially explains why it has taken 'till November for me to write and publish my first blog post of the academic year. But as cliché as I think that analogy is, it's truly accurate. I went into this semester thinking a lot of things. My summer was awesome, and I was ready to build this semester on the positive energy I felt.
The semester started out strong, too. I enjoyed my courses. I was elected to Student Senate. I was preparing to go abroad. All good things.
Then life hit.
I was scheduled to go to #CollegeDebate16 in early September, but instead I got a call from my orthodontic surgeon telling me that I had to come in and undergo a biopsy for a mass in my jaw. Had I gone to California for the conference and had the biopsy, I would have had to miss two weeks of school in the very beginning of the semester. I chose to forgo the incredible opportunity at Dominican University and to get sliced open during the time I was scheduled to be away instead. I was upset and disappointed that I couldn't go to something I had looked forward to for a long while, but I got over it. The recovery happened pretty quickly, and I was able to come back to Oberlin after just a few days of resting at home. Life moved on.
A few weeks later life came to hit again. Had the mass testing result come back as a cyst, as expected, everything would have been over and done. But it didn't. My doctor called and told me that I had a tumor in my jaw and would have to come back for surgery again--this time the recovery wouldn't be so quick.
I was mad.
I was mad, yet I didn't even know who to be mad at. But again, I figured "that's life."
I went home and had the surgery. It was awful.
I ended up spending three nights in the hospital, longer than I expected. I lost two teeth; didn't expect that to happen either. My bite is completely messed up; didn't expect that either. I'll have to have another surgery for reconstruction surgery. Unexpected.
"Why me?" I thought. I still don't know, but it doesn't even matter.
Because I love clichés I'll throw out another: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Coming back from the second surgery was tough. I was tired and I felt defeated. I couldn't talk for several weeks, which as a social science student proved to be detrimental. I couldn't really participate in class, even when my friends and classmates offered to be orators for me. Making up work was hard. I couldn't go to my internship. I couldn't do a lot of the things that make me happy or feel fulfilled. I still can't fully eat solid foods.
Even while enduring trials, I was still able to enjoy some of the joyous moments that amplify and delineate the greater grandeur of the world. The most memorable was the Hillary Clinton Rally in Cleveland. It was a free concert with Jay-Z as the headliner, but J.Cole, Chance the Rapper, Big Sean (from Detroit!) and most importantly Beyoncé all made appearances and performed. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. It was a true manifestation of my political and artistic interests synthesized into one beautiful product.
Through the struggle, I've had dozens--dare I say hundreds--of friends and family members reach out to me. My Oberlin community supported me through the process. From my class dean helping explain my circumstances to professors from me actually bursting into tears to one professor at office hours, I've truly received what I think is the full gamut of Obie love.
After all of this I'm still standing. Gratefulness continues to flow from my heart.