I thought of my mother and how she must have clasped the little hands of my sister and me when she herself first stepped onto a campus again. My mother had returned for her master’s, which she did complete after years of covering our dining room table with her books and papers. I told my daughter this. She is still unsure of what my pursuit of a doctoral degree might mean, even though I promise a better future for all of us. Regardless of what letters behind my name might signify, my passage through this campus, even my effort to do so, will mark for her that she, too, has a future she can carve, one not necessarily pegged by gender role, family history, or outside expectation. Looking at VCU, even as the campus began to sleep with the approaching Christmas holiday, a tinge of excitement ran through us. The children and I, holding each other’s mittened hands against the chill, exchanged smiles.
Below is an image from my painting portfolio and an excerpt from my entrance essay. Wish me luck!