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  • Writer's pictureKadiatou Tubman

Special Announcement: I am going to Columbia U. for Grad School!

A few weeks ago, one of my students dramatically threatened to drop out of my Junior Scholars Program if I did not submit my grad school application this year. She and I had grown close after I received concerned calls from her dad about her anxiety and depression. So, every morning for a month, I texted her a random meme to remind her (and myself) that we are capable of dealing with hard things and laughing at the same time. The night before I submitted my application she texted me one of my favorite memes and wrote, "we're capable of doing the hard things and loving ourselves at the same time."

While the photos above represent some of the proudest moment in my life and career, they do not show the homeless teen who wanted to go to college but couldn't afford to physically get there; the undergrad who would fall asleep in her college's computer lab and rush out before dawn because she couldn't afford a personal laptop; or the 28-year-old educator who moved her homeless mother and brother in her Bronx apartment so that they would not have to sleep in a shelter.

In each of these challenging moments, I managed to feel love, joy, and compassion while simultaneously experiencing grief, loss, and shame. It's a skill I work on sharpening every single day. It shapes my connection to my community and the world and informs my teaching practices and values. I look forward to seeing how it holds up during my next challenge: Columbia University Teachers College.

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