I could tell you that life after high school leads to college. I could tell you that life after high school leads to immediate success. I could tell you that complete happiness comes after you leave high school; that—void of the bigotry that you have been socialized in/around through your family, friends, and religious spaces—you’ll be able to live a more free, less repressed life. And, for some of you, this may be true. However, for many others, this will not be true.

College is not for everyone. For reasons that vary from financial instability, to discrimination, to you simply not being interested in existing in academic spaces post-high school. I started my college career in August of 2014. Because I was an A+ student in high school, graduating with a 4.2 GPA, I expected to get to college and excel over the course of four years—despite the fact that I developed a chronic heart condition the last semester of my senior year of high school. What I discovered, however, is that navigating academia as a Black, poor, disabled, and queer first generation college student would prove to be more difficult than I expected.

The last semester of what was expected to be my senior year of college is now approaching, but I will not be walking across the stage in May of 2018. Over the last four years, I have struggled with depression and anxiety, causing my GPA to suffer; I have had two major heart surgeries, which have kept me out of classes for two semesters; I have been homeless due to my family’s initial response to my queerness and my inability to work; and I have suffered through a host of other tragedies that each deserve their own story.

So I write this, not as someone who has not experienced dreadful days in college, but as someone who has bore the weight of existing with identities that do not make college easy to navigate.

While I will not be graduating in 2018, I will be graduating eventually. I am privileged in that way. This is not everyone’s truth, and it does not have to be yours. For some of you, what happens to you after high school has been dependent on what college you get accepted into. For others, higher education has never been an option. And for many of you, there has been no in-between.

While I encourage folks that are able to, to attend a four year college or university—mostly because it is important to have a degree for many of us to survive—I do not believe that it is required. Instead, I encourage you to pursue what you think is best for you, be it college, trade school, another form of higher education, or no post-high school education at all.

I understand all too well the senior year pressures that you are currently feeling. I felt them, too, before enrolling at Morehouse College. Here is my advice to you for finishing out the year: stay on top of your work, be proactive, and don’t slack, no matter how difficult it becomes. Understand that the reward you get from all of the hard work will be worth all of the late nights, the early mornings, the constant studying, and even the stress. However, have fun and enjoy senior year. You have persevered for so long and you are so close to the finish line. Remember this when you feel like quitting over the next few months.

Whatever you choose for your path after high school, the adjustment will not be easy. The biggest perk of the adult world is freedom, but it can also be your biggest enemy. I urge you to work on your time management and your ability to balance and multitask. This is your time to prove to yourself that you are capable of succeeding at whatever it is you want to do. You are more prepared for this than you probably believe that you are. And though you will not be perfect and you will fail sometimes, you will make it.

With Revolutionary Love,


Da’Shaun Harrison