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Hey y’all, I’m Claire. 

I’m a super-super-senior pursuing my Journalism degree at Lamar. Beaumont is my hometown, but I recently moved to Austin about a year ago and I can see myself staying many more.

2020 was a hard year for us all. It marked the beginning of COVID in the US, and it was the year I decided to leave the strict religious community I had been raised in and the year I lost my dad to suicide.

These two major life events happened within the first few months of 2020. I learned of my dad’s passing mid-March, right before I found myself on lockdown and stayed inside my apartment for the next 6 months. 

This cocoon period was the most emotionally challenging time of my life so far. I didn’t do anything but stay in my room, in bed, distracting myself with TV and mindless entertainment so I wouldn’t think too deeply about my situation. I failed some classes and didn’t really care. Feeling increasingly mortal, I needed to move to get some space to grow into who I wanted to be without all the baggage of my hometown. 

I moved to Austin last fall and took a semester off school to refocus so I could be a better student now. I’ve spent my time here serving in fancy restaurants, dating, making friends, hiking and camping as often as possible, and just relaxing into myself without my former cult-like church controlling every aspect of my time and identity. I’ve grown into my grief and found it has made me more aware and grateful for days when life feels especially worth living. 

I’m intimidated to jump back into my coursework, but I’m ready to finish my degree so I can move on with my life and get out of the service industry. I hope to use my communications degree to hold those in power accountable to us, the people, and to share our stories so we can recognize each other as brothers and sisters sharing this earth. Or, failing that, maybe get a nice sitting-down job in an air conditioned office with benefits. Either option would make me feel successful and fulfilled as long as I can one day own my home on a little bit of land and grow some vegetables in peace and quiet. 

Wish me luck.

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"To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man"




Beaumont, Texas

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