Everyone has been remarking that 2016 is a year they never thought they would see themselves through because of the many obstacles and losses that came their way. As I reflect on “the most difficult year of the millennium” I realise that, while a lot of bad things happened in my life this year, I had more wins than I caught Ls. 2015 was a trying year for me, I saw myself almost dropping (read kicked out) of college, working four jobs to sustain myself and my family while not being able to see themfor many reasons. The saving grace of that dreadful year was earning an exciting research fellowship at one of the top universities in the world. Those three months spent in California revived me and were the only reason I made it through the year.

The last few years have been difficult, things were falling apart as the time to go to university was fast approaching. Going to school in the middle of nowhere as my family was struck by the worsening economic situation at home made me sink into depression. A few weeks into it, just before my first round of midterms, one of my best friend passed away while she was waiting to start her journey in England. I was crushed. Every new day brought new challenges and I was struggling to stay afloat. Since that first semester, I have worked tirelessly, even on days when I had nothing to give because I knew if I gave in, the hole I would sink into was way deeper than what I had been dealing with.

2016, in spite of all its challenges personally and for those around me, has been good because I fulfilled my promise to myself and did what a lot of people told me was near impossible, I graduated a year early with (honors) from college. Some stints on the Dean’s list, some research fellowships and conferences, about 7 jobs and an ACS Physical Chemistry Award later, I got my degree! Although I almost missed a month of school because of personal days and conferences, I did amazing! I finished that last semester strong AF!

The best part was seeing my mother for the first time in three years! Yes, my mother made it to my graduation! The ceremony and the degree meant little to me, but it was everything to her. She “pururudzad” in a custom African-print dress looking like it was some roora event. She came to the front, screamed “ndiye maMoyo, achinjanja mudovi!” (as if she has ever called me that). She walked around all day holding that black diploma case, you would have thought someone would steal it. I wanted to be out of there. “Finally, some civilisation and a chance to work on my dream,” I kept thinking.

The third best part of that, I left Huntingdon! I was an RA (Resident Assistant) and I was expected to stay until the day after graduation but I was not having it. They could have kept my last check if they wanted but I was not going to spend another 24 hours in that place. (JK my mother was here for three weeks and I only started working at the end of summer so I actually needed that money.)

I travelled quite a bit. The best part: I didn’t pay for most of it. But this year, while I couldn’t leave the country, I explored a good bit of the US. I ushered in the year in Salt Lake City, UT with my friend Lola, went to conferences in Syracuse, NY and San Diego, CA. Took my mother to Virginia Beach where I spent my birthday with my sister Cleo and her family. Said goodbye to my mother in NYC but picked myself up with the Beyonce concert before heading back to DC/MD. And just before I started this adulting gig in Boston, I went on “vacation” (I don’t know if this is called vacation since I wasn’t working anyway) in Maine. There have been some recurring trips but I have not been in one place for more than 4 months (I am still trying to figure out if that means I get more money back on my tax return ).

I watched my other friends win too; Rosie graduated and got into grad school, Thembi moved to LA and became a whole senior writer, Ope’s masters (about to be a CPA), Lola got into grad school and finally moved to NYC,my godson turned one, and lots of other great things happened. The year was challenging, I am not in the best space but i think it’s important for me to acknowledge that my fight was not in vain and 2016 handed me some good Ws!

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