Unlikely Transitions

I always told my residents that if college doesn't challenge you and/or your beliefs then get your money back. Now, I should add if it does not cause you to grow, then most definitely get your money. My transition into undergraduate life was a journey. I don’t know what to name it other than one. I don’t remember having many emotions during that first year; I just went through the motions. I remember feeling overwhelmed. I remember being tired. I remember being by my lonesome. I, also, remember feeling fulfilled when interacting with others.

My undergraduate experience was full of emotional rollercoasters.


Sadness. Depression.

Excitement. Accomplishment. Fulfilled.

Emotionless. Just being there.

I sometimes reflect on those memories of my four years and wonder, “How did I get here?”. I just did. I followed my instinct. I grew and outgrew people. Sometimes, I feel like I outgrew myself.

Where is the old Khadesia?

She has evolved into the young woman I am now. A young woman who now is not afraid to say she was scared when we moved away from home for graduate school. I am no longer in the same state (currently in Florida), and since I, basically, don’t have any family here, I must deal with myself now.

I knew that transitioning academically into graduate school would not be as rough as the social and mental side of it. This transition has given me time to reflect. The great thing about reflection is that I am not scared of not knowing what’s next. I know my triggers. I know what I do and do not want, sometimes. For example, sometimes I know what I want to eat and other times I don’t (yes, I am sometimes the female stereotype).

However, no one prepared for me loneliness in the beginning. Being in graduate school did not mean I automatically became an adult and mature. Being back in school did not mean automatically making friends. There was still an effort to be made. I am grateful for those connections thus far because those around me see something great in me, and I see something great in them.

And I had to be ready to do true self-care. This transition just opened wounds to let me know I still needed to heal. To heal, you must push on in every aspect. You must be okay with your position it life. You must trust the universe and the higher power. You must listen and trust in yourself. Besides, if you don’t trust yourself, how else will you write a bomb paper in graduate school? How else will anyone trust you? How can you be a game changer but still be afraid to fight? How can you inspire others, and you can’t inspire yourself?

The many transitions I have made it through since summer 2015 have been everything for me because they have made me. From me doing things for the first time, to letting go of a dying love, to now letting go of a dream. And acknowledging that fear of letting go of a dream that I’ve had since I was 17 is something I am still dealing with. Now, I am learning and evolving. I am listening to what to do next. This is what you must do in your transitions. Enjoy your journey as I am learning to enjoy mine.

By Khadesia Howell

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Coming into my own, by Exploring the Unknown.

“How do I do it,” I said, as I try to place my debit card in an ATM machine in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Looking at the foreign keys on the screen left me feeling confused and dazed. I asked my female colleague, “Can you do it for me?” “You can do it,” she stated simply, almost abruptly, yet still in a supportive tone. Reluctantly, I placed my card into the card reader and fumbled through the transaction. I did it! I retrieved my funds. But why did I feel so helpless? And why did I look to this older woman to handle the process for me? Well, it took experiences like these throughout my twenties to truly find confidence in getting things done for myself. However, it all begins with a bit of reflection.

I’ve always been the youngest and the only boy in a household of women. I have two older sisters and we are all eight years a part. Growing up, I’ve always been able to look to them for guidance or support in every day tasks. It wasn’t until college that I felt free to develop security in myself and find a bit more bravery in becoming the person I wanted to be. However, this journey was not easy (still isn’t). Honestly, I have always seen myself as different from my siblings. Our general interests, me being the only male and identifying with non-binary ideals on sexuality are different.

Still, due to me always having older sisters, this lead me to always see older people, particularly women as my siblings. I have always felt like I could confide in them and “argue and make-up.” Surely, they will always “have my back.” Well, this is the wrong notion to consistently have in the workplace where there is competition and people with different life stories. I learned this while interning in Ho Chi Minh that summer. I had a disagreement with a colleague (not the woman who helped me with the ATM) and I thought we were able to reconcile and still “be friends,” but shortly after the internship was over, she had deleted me off Facebook and told another colleague a couple years later “we didn’t see eye-to-eye.” This was interesting. In my mind, we had made up. It was just a sibling misunderstanding; however, it was truly an irreconcilable ordeal. It was surprising to me because, in the past, I could easily feel connected with people. I knew that she was an only child, she was ambitious and she was constantly searching for something. How could my “sister”disconnect when we had shared such stories? Easy. Different perspectives.

Nonetheless, that summer in Ho Chi Minh, I learned a lot about independence. I learned that there are various perspectives. We sometimes don’t learn how we view the world, until we see the world. I’m thankful for that lesson. 


-Doc Dillard



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