The End of a Great Chapter…And the Beginning of an Exciting Journey

Jackson successfully defended her honors thesis, “El hip-hop cubano: An Agent of Social and Political Change in Cuba?,” in October and is preparing to graduate in December. Photo courtesy Margaree Jackson.

“What are your future plans?”

This is the question I can say I hear the most nowadays, especially since this is my last semester of college. As a Type A personality who loves to have everything perfectly planned out, this question makes me a little uncomfortable at times.

People say college will be some of the best years yet, and I agree. They say college will help you find your passions and discover who you are. I agree. They warn you not to be so sure about what you want to do in the future when you come to college because your plans might change. I completely agree.

I came to the University of Mississippi with aspirations of becoming a dentist. I thought  I had life all planned out. I would attend Ole Miss, major in biology and minor in Spanish, attend dental school, own a dental practice and serve as a missionary dentist. However, I was in for a rude awakening. Science, in fact, isn’t my strong suit. Languages, however, are.  I changed my major to Spanish during my second semester of college and found my true passion for the Spanish language, Latin American culture and being in service to others.

I took advantage of every opportunity I could to immerse myself in the Spanish language. I attended El cafe de los lunes, a weekly gathering for students wanting to practice their conversational Spanish, and I attended events and film festivals planned for Hispanic Heritage Month. I became a conversation partner for the International and American Student Alliance and helped Latinx students from Latin America practice their English. I have made a number of international friends through this program who I still keep in touch with today. I was also blessed with the opportunity to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic for spring break during my freshman year, which was life changing. I felt as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders and that God was showing me that I was on the right path. I continued to receive more opportunities to work directly with the Latinx community by serving as an English as a Second Language volunteer tutor for the Oxford School District.

I have met so many people along my college journey who have nurtured my passions and helped me become the person I am today. I am thankful for my family, professors, peers, friends, mentors, church, small group and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. I am also incredibly grateful for The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects and the opportunity to work with the organization as an intern. The Lighthouse has helped me discover my passion for social justice and has been an inspiration to me since my first day of work in May.

Today, I serve as the president of the Undergraduate Black Law Student Association and an interpreter for the Mississippi Immigration Defense Collaborative. I also recently defended my honors thesis on “El hip-hop cubano: An Agent of Social and Political Change in Cuba?,” a nine-month-long project where I researched the impact the Cuban Hip-Hop Movement had on politics and race relations. Defending my thesis has been the highlight of my semester. I am enjoying every moment of my final semester in college. I have met so many amazing people and have had the great fortune of having many great opportunities to grow professionally and academically during the past three and a half years. I will miss my undergraduate years, but I have a number of memories that will last a lifetime.

My advice to college students: Don’t be afraid to allow your plans to change. Sometimes we think we know what’s best, but God shows us that He has even better plans. I believe things will fall into place as long as you have faith.

So back to the question: “What are your plans for the future?” As of now, I am planning to apply to graduate programs. I ultimately would like to work on social justice initiatives in the Black and Latinx communities. I am trusting God with my future because I know He knows best.

About the author

Margaree Jackson is a senior at the University of Mississippi where she studies Spanish and political science. She is passionate about Afro-Latin American culture and social justice. She enjoys traveling, learning new languages and drinking boba tea.

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