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As of December 13th, I have finished school. After spending the past 7 years working towards my Bachelor’s degree, it seems surreal. It was a long journey after my 2015 high school graduation. I spent 3 years earning Associate’s degrees in communications, psychology, and philosophy during my time in community college. I then took 2 gap years, trying to save enough to finish my degree. In January 2020, I started my ASU online adventure. I majored in Mass Communications and Media Studies, with a minor in Women & Gender Studies. I learned how to study for the 1st time in my life, and I struggled and managed to get an ‘A’ in Media Law, which is by far the hardest course I’ve ever grappled with. All the sleepless nights, balancing working full-time with 18 unit course loads, and the joys and frustrations of college are done. 

I’ve taken many interesting courses: Witchcraft and Heresy in Europe, Girlhood and Adolescence, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries, and War and Media were some of my favorites. I had a wide range of topics to interact with throughout my major and minor. My reading list has definitely grown as a result! We read excerpts of Necropolitics by Achille Mbembe for Women&The Body, and I just ordered it so I can read the full book. Through class discussions analyzing the works of bell hooks and Angela Davis, my feminist leftist beliefs and my understanding of the intersectionality framework grew deeper. I feel like I have a better grasp on theory and am better able to articulate my stances and beliefs. 

Writing for HerCampus at ASU has been an amazing experience. While I didn’t get to attend meetings due to work and other scheduling conflicts, I connected with editors and board members through the article editing process which helped me, as an online student, feel more connected to the ASU community while sitting at home in California. HC @ ASU is incredibly supportive and I’m honored to have been included. I loved diving into a wide array of topics, from the R.L Stine Goosebumps television series, profiling inspiring women, purity culture, relationship issues, period poverty, to white privilege. The fact that we were allowed to pick our article topics allowed for a lighthearted media listicle some weeks and a cultural deep dive the next. Writing for HC has really helped me hone my voice as a writer and examine things and issues important to me. I also got to do some interviews with really cool people that I probably wouldn’t have met or reached out to without HerCampus. 

While visiting Arizona for the 1st time for 8123 Fest, I visited the Tempe campus and took graduation pictures. I have completed my time as a Sun Devil, and I’m moving on to the next phase of my life. I’m not sure exactly what that is yet. Writing has been a through-line in my passions, and I’m applying to a variety of jobs related to my major and minor. Plans to relocate north and travel as much as possible are tentatively in the works. Exploring Greece for a month in the next year or two is a major goal. The passport I bought as my birthday gift last year will be put to use ASAP. The pandemic and the personal disaster that 2021 was, has me planning much more in the short term than the long term. I’m taking things a month or two at a time, rather than trying to figure out the next 5 years. I’m having a bit of an existential crisis because of how much of my identity has been rooted in being in school for most of my life, but I’m excited to discover what comes next for me. I’m working on developing a podcast, and I’m hoping to write more consistently on my blog. If you want to connect, I’m chronically online and most active on Instagram. Here’s to the end of an era and the start of the future! 

Michaela Steele is a senior at ASU Online, studying Mass Communications with a Women&Gender Studies minor. Michaela enjoys writing, going to concerts, and binge watching David Attenborough documentaries. She aspires to work in music PR. She's passionate about intersectional feminism, discussing philosophy, and analyzing media. Feel free to reach her at: msteel11@asu.edu
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