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The Long Walk: A Reflection

Reflecting on my time at Howard is now bittersweet. I am elated that I have matriculated through this great institution and proven that I have what it takes to be called a bison. But it is also sad, because I know that my time at my beloved university is fleeting and soon coming to an end.

I take great pride in my university, Howard is an incubator and has birthed some of the greatest minds in history since it opened its doors more than 150 years ago. With each step I take across The Yard, I think about those who have crossed these same paths before me, the likes of Zora Neale Hurston, Thurgood Marshall, Phylicia Rashad and Kamala Harris. The people who have left the pebbled paths of Howard and laid the foundation of change across the world. I do not take it lightly the role that Howard and its alumni have played throughout the history of the world. It is a strong legacy and one that I am proud to bear. One day, when people reflect on the greatness of Howard, they will include my name.

But the university that I have come to know and love, once did not look like this, its pebbled paths were once just vast open land. This beautiful campus, full of historic buildings, is the work of several master plans, or layouts of how to build and expand the university to meet the changing needs of society. One of the most famous master plans was created in 1932 by Albert I. Cassell, an African-American architect. His vision was to make Howard the capstone of Negro education, a place of great status. He took great pride in his work, carefully designing each building and selecting the materials used to build. One of my favorites of his, is Founders, a library whose peak can be seen from most parts of the city.

One of the time-honored traditions of this university, is graduates taking ‘the Long Walk’ during Commencement, starting at Greene stadium ending in front of Founders Library. To me, this walk is a symbol of the four years I have spent here, a journey of growth and self-discovery. Though as the days dwindle down and the reality that my time here has come to an end starts to set in, I find comfort in the fact that I will walk the Long Walk with those that I have spent every step of this beautiful journey with. I entered this university with two friends who I have known for what feels like my entire life, friends whom I shared every up and down of this experience with. Knowing that they are by my side as I leave the safety of Howard University just like they were when I first stepped foot on this campus, is not only comforting but a perfect bookend to this story.

 

Check out this video I made with my best friends to see how they feel as they prepare to take the Long Walk.

 

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