The semester is coming to an end and unlike any other semester, it is moving fast. I am not sure how I feel about that. In part, I love being in school with all of my friends, but also I am feeling that academics are being a bit too much. Yet the fact that I am only taking three classes does become a concern.

I decided to take three classes this semester because any other semester I have taken either 4, 4.5, or 5 classes, but this semester, with living off campus, having two jobs, and applying to grad school, it really did become a lot to take. I look forward to having sent out those applications and to have finished the courses I am taking this semester.

To be most honest, it truly has not been the best semester academically. I am not failing, but also not exceeding either. I am just there, surviving per se.

Maybe it is what I have talked about in the previous post, about senioritis. I am not doing less for sure, but academics are indeed stressful and at Brandeis it never becomes easier. To the point that my mental health suffers and I do not think I can do that anymore.

For example, one of my classes, on the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflict, I certainly feel more daunted to talk and participate. I deliberately took the class to learn about something I do not have the remotest idea what it was about. I have felt intimidated to say the wrong thing. For my midterm essay, my professor lowered my original grade because of my lack of participation. He told me that if I wanted to improve, I had to start raising my hand more often. Yes, he is challenging me, just like many other Brandeis courses, but I am not sure if it is the sort of stressful challenge I would want to be navigating through at the moment. It becomes a game trying to get the right answer, which requires lots of energy and creates anxiety. Certainly I am doing that, but I am not sure if it will pay off to be completely honest.

In other news, last weekend of the 15th to the 18th of November, I spent it in L.A., California, where I attended the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF)’s Media & Entertainment Summit. I had the opportunity to meet Latinx scholars from everywhere around the country, to network with people from all walks of life who are doing inspirational work. Being around Latinx reminded me how proud I am of being Latino, but also how much I miss being around such communities. There is barely any like me at Brandeis and despite the fact that I have found my niche, I wish I also had around those people with whom I share a cultural link with.

At the Summit, I had the opportunity to be inspired and to learn that it would be fine if I allow myself to be sometimes surprised about the route that my career could take me in my post-grad life. I even had a job interview and, if I do say so myself, I believe it went well, but I have no idea what it is going to happen yet. I leave it all in the hands of destiny, but all I can say is that I came back thinking that if I were to obtain a really good job that seems appealing to me, I may be tempted to take it. Perhaps putting off grad school for a year (although my mom was not too content with such idea).

The year is about to wrap up, it definitely has been an unimaginable year where I have had countless of blessings. I have grown and challenged myself. Failures and successes. I have been surprised by life itself. I have continued to work hard and I must continue to do so for what it is left of it. I find comfort in seeing how far I have come, how proud my family is about me, and what I still want to accomplish and do with my life. Certainly there has been a few failures, one big one just happened, something I will talk about some other time, but I keep taking my mind back to the things that still keep me alive. That my life cannot be defined by one thing and that I will be able to understand why that thing did not work out sometime later in the future.

I am thankful for a lot of things. I have so much privilege. I am truly a fortunate one for sure.

All the best,

Santiago Montoya