「當他們 都怕 輸在起跑點的時候
她反問我 沒先想目的地 要沖什麼」

I’ve had many conversations with many people about what it means to have gone through the MA program in the last eight months.

What should I be proud of?
The new letters added to my resume?
That I knocked out more than 7 papers in 8 months?
That I read over twenty books and talked about them with complex words and even more convoluted ideas?

I think the work of the MA is important. I think most of the courses I took have given me what I was looking for, what I needed and challenged me in ways I did not expect. I can stand behind every paper I have written, and say this is something I cared about enough to have spent this amount of time on it, and I have honoured my commitments to the things I cared about.

But some days I sit and watch the wisdom of those who have never stepped into this thing called higher education, and I am humbled by what they know, and how they have chosen to live. Some days I watch something wordless speak more than my words might say, and I remind myself to always look farther and wider than what I may imagine to be the limit.

The hood and the gown will remind me of my parents’ love and grace, how they continue to support and believe in my work even if it is not accessible to them.
Convocation will remind me that I would have fared much worse if not for the friends who fed me, read for me, and listened to my stories and struggles over the year.
The MA will remind me that the academy and the institute do not necessarily mean intelligence, much less value.

Meaningful things I take with me:
– the fierceness of the women I have worked with at the MFC
– the intelligent and thoughtful friends who made this MA bearable
– the phenomenal women professors who made this MA an MA
– the simple happiness of late night BBT
– the courage learned from making my own calls even if there are few examples for me to follow
– the dissatisfaction of discourse that does not translate into understanding, or action
– the countless hours outside the classroom spent building up other forms of knowledge

At the very least, I think the woman I’ve grown into over the last 8 months is someone I can be proud of, someone I believe has integrity, someone I can say understands more of grace.

I think I have become someone my 14 year old self would be interested in, would aspire to become. This is the most important thing to me. 這讓我我對的起自己。

People ask what’s next and I think I am going to go look for all the things the academy could not give me, but use what the academy did give me to build the things I want to build better.

One more thing I can take with me:
– the ability to say, “I honestly give zero shits about what you think”.

Thanks UofT, it’s taken me 7 years, countless sleepless nights and convoluted wrestling with my thoughts, but I think I am only beginning to learn just how capable my spine is.

Posted by:jasmine

Jasmine is an editor, poet, and community arts organizer. She comes to poetry by way of Chinese music. This blog is a mapping of ways.

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