Creating my space in the universe

Monica Houston, photo by Brooke Marsh

The universe has a funny way of aligning all your stars in the right place at the right time. My position at the CT came at a crucial time in my life — when I was discovering who I was, or rather, creating who I wanted to be.

At the end of my junior year, I applied for a position at the Black Sheep and at the Commonwealth Times. I applied to the CT to be a staff writer and ended up getting called in and hired as the Opinion Editor. I had just changed majors for the second time, from Mass Communications to English, and was second guessing my career choice.

I had a long conversation with my mother about what it was I wanted to do with my life and I had decided that I was good enough at writing and enjoyed it enough to make it a career. The lack of money was never a problem because it was either writing or becoming a teacher.

Sarah, our Executive Editor, confirmed my doubts by giving me the chance to become the Opinion Editor. I am beyond grateful to her for seeing something in me and giving me a chance to find my voice. I was never good at expressing my thoughts aloud, so allowing people to hear me through my writing was well worth the affirmation.

There are some downfalls to being an only child to a single parent who believes sheltering is the best option. When you become woke, you aren’t caressed on the back with a soft whisper in your ear to wake up. It’s an obnoxious awakening by a blaring alarm clock revealing all the truths of the world, usually all at once. And once you’re woke, you are an insomniac for life — there is no hitting the snooze button and returning to the peaceful innocent slumber.

My classes in African American studies allowed me to learn a new side of my history. Dr. Kimberly Brown and Dr. Chioke I’Anson enlightened my mind and spirit so profoundly, I was obsessed with learning as much as I could. These brilliant professors became my role models and solidified my initial intentions to become a teacher. I wanted to share my knowledge with as many people as I could and promote change in anyone who was willing to receive.

My aspirations are to combine my writing with teaching. Start a line of textbooks with more minority culture — my history does not begin with slavery — write AFAM and sci-fi novels and possibly even dabble in screenplays.

This position at the CT has allowed me to learn more about myself, about the world, about my writing, and about life in general. I may have been the oldest, but my coworkers have taught that age does not equal experience. I appreciate the countless hours spent in our windowless office, and being succumbed to ratchet music and gossip. This has been the best job I have had in relation to my new-found career path and I will never forget the people or the things I have learned.

Thank you to the universe for illuminating this star.


Opinion Editor, Monica Houston

Monica Houston, photo by Brooke MarshMonica is a senior English literature major planning to eventually earn her master’s in education. Monica strives to combine her background in literature and passion for early education to influence future generations with her writing. “Don’t be offended this is all my opinion, ain’t nothing that I’m saying law. This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I’ve been sent here to share with ya’ll.” // LinkedIn

houstonm@commonwealthtimes.org

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