In the closing two years of my doctoral degree that spanned ten years of my life, I was asked by a mentor to write a personal essay on my academic experiences at the university. That essay follows and is printed here not without the accompanying editing that marshaled its own questioning, self-reflection and analysis that comes with distance, wisdom, and the editor of a juried journal.

I was concerned to give a revisionist accounting now, another five or six years after the writing of the essay, to explain what my perspective was then as a disaffected African- American ABD (all but dissertation), given my changed thinking now, of what matters and what does not; and how my responses would have changed, lessened, or wizened over time. After all, my heightened sensitivity as an emotionally vulnerable and young so-called minority Black female, coming from a politically-charged HBCU (historically-Black college or university) to enter a predominantly white and politically conservative environment brings with it a whole dimension of challenges, the least of which is how to fit in, how not to be invisible, how to be successful and how to gain access to be successful in the midst of myriad real and perceived walls and obstacles.

Author Biography

Melise D. Huggins is an international public scholar holding degrees in Animal Science, Agricultural Economics and Applied Economics & Resource Development from American universities. She is a multidisciplinary development economist, writer, poet, artist, and photographer, originally from the Caribbean but a world traveler both for business and pleasure. Much of her prose/poetry focuses on women, and our struggles to be; to be free, live and remain self-determined in the midst of myriad demands.