be less offensive, I made changes to my appearance, personality, and speech. If I did not get out
of my family home, in a literal, geographical way, I would have surely died. In my mind, if I was
not able to survive at CMU, I would not be surviving anywhere. The stakes remained high and I
understood what this meant for me. Imposter syndrome plagued me as I felt like I had come to
college with a lot less preparation than my peers. The nights in high school spent in screaming
matches or going on last-minute staycations when it was decided that it was too dangerous to
stay at home did not prepare me to close-read dense texts or write essays. I did not know how to
do any of it and I was terrified. The exhibition of wealth and academic rigor was unlike anything
I had encountered before. Although it was new, I know what it is like to look at something
ginormous and terrifying and still have to go towards it. If there is anything that my life prior to
college prepared me for, it was that. Obviously, I am here and writing this but it should be
understood that I still feel like I do not belong here. I resent myself for what was stolen from me,
for letting it be stolen from me. Moreso, I resent the institutional framework for telling me what I
had to do to myself, taking it from me, and then when I got here, telling me that I was not
allowed to get it back. They told me that it could not have happened for me to be here. I believed
them when they said people like me do not make it here. They tricked me into thinking my life
was a fluke and something not worth mentioning. How do I disprove them? I thought that if they
took my life from me that meant that I could never see that girl again. I could not see those parts
of me anymore; I killed them, never to return. I am left wondering, was it ever real?