Texas > Missouri > Seattle: Big Hair, Don’t Care

Graduation Cap


Hey y’all!
I’m Taylor Dukes and I am a new(ish) SDA student. I’ll have two classes under my belt by the time I actually get to orientation.
I U-hauled it to Seattle from the University of Missouri two days after my graduation. I have a BSW with an emphasis in Queer Studies, a certificate in Multicultural Studies, and a minor in Leadership and Public Service. I also just got my diploma in the mail, and no, they don’t print all of that on the paper. I am originally from the suburbs of Fort Worth and am struggling to keep my Texas hair in the Seattle humidity (the higher the hair, the closer to Jesus).
While in Missouri, I worked as a weekend case manager for a children and teen homeless shelter. This work, along with my extracurriculars at Mizzou, got me interested in higher education, specifically in accessibility and social justice issues. I vacillated between pursuing a MSW or a Masters in Higher Education, but ended up choosing the latter after visiting SU and seeing the wider array of opportunities that would be available to me.
I decided to get here as soon as I could so I could get a head start on settling in and starting summer courses. That, and my lease was up. I moved here blind with my better half and a gaggle of fur babies, taking a chance on an apartment complex in Kent that fit both my nonexistent budget and my very hairy family (both animals and humans).
So far, I have been filling my first summer in Seattle working fulltime at Starbucks, taking classes, eating copious amounts of seafood, trying to store up all available Vitamin D, and failing to decorate my new apartment with Pinterest projects. My first class this quarter was Best Practices, the overnight section. It was probably the best introduction to the program I could have asked for. I got to meet so many of my cohort members, learn how SU and other institutions work, and drink (sanctioned!) wine with my professors. Coming from a Midwest state school, it’s the little things that make it all worth it, right?
My second class was Multicultural Perspectives with Dr. Valerio. I hung out with Errold and recapped much of what I learned in undergrad. I was impressed by the different mediums of assignments, from standard academic papers to poetry to art installations. The assignments challenged me in ways I was not expecting. I was a fairly strong writer in undergrad, but being asked to write a poem about where I am from threw me for a loop. The class was a stark contrast to Best Practices, throwing out all my hopes and dreams of knowing what to expect from SDA classes. You know, once I finally become an official student in the fall.
Moving forward, I am so excited to have an assistantship with the Center for Service and Community Engagement. I already completed some summer reading for them (if you have the chance and are interested in education accessibility in K-12, check out Whatever It Takes by Paul Tough) and will be working the New Student Immersions with CSCE in early September. I’ll be keeping my job at Starbucks as well. Between the increased cost of living and my better half’s doctoral pursuits, I need a job that’s flexible and pays the bills. So, hit me up if you need a fix! My drink orders are increasingly complicated and contain dangerously high amounts of caffeine, but I’d be happy to buy you a drink with my discount in the name of cohort building and professional networking.
-Taylor Dukes

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