The city, ultimately, became home, and at the beginning of 2006 I began to work on my master’s degree after a year of substitute teaching in the town where my parents lived. The University of Pittsburgh gave me the anonymity that being at a school of 30,000 students offered. Smith gave me so much but I hid in plain sight at Pitt, able to sit in the Cathedral of Learning and work on my laptop, and not have anyone come over to talk to me unless they needed something. Usually, nobody did.
After my first day of classes, as the building emptied out, I walked laps around the building’s first three floors, peeking my head in the different nationality rooms, in disbelief that I was back in college. Maybe I would take it more seriously this time.
Walking through the nationality rooms at...
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