This is my last column for The Michigan Daily. These are my parting words for myself, for this University and for the people who never cease to amaze me.

Maja Tosic

To Myself:

Maja, you must do something.

Graduation is looming very closely, but all I can focus on is how much this University has tried to break me. I cannot say that I am leaving as someone who’s happy and pleased. I am leaving the University angered, hurt and disheartened. Within these walls, I have seen the true workings of our education system.

Despite how broken I am to see University administrators not take action where action is due, what breaks me the most is that I need this University more than it needs me. This institution has snared me so strongly that I rely upon this problematic system. To them, I am just another dollar sign that is easily replaced, but to me they are my key, my voice, my respect. Without this institution, I would not have this stage from which to be heard. I would not have the same doors opening before me. I would not be as respected and listened to. Ironically, as much as I despise aspects of this University, it has also advanced my privilege. I cannot lie to myself and say that I am not grateful. But, I also cannot lie to myself and say that I am pardoned from the responsibility of challenging this institution even when I am far gone. I am forever tied to this place; therefore, I am forever tied to the silence I must break.

Maja, you cannot let future generations become just as angered, hurt and disheartened as they too graduate from the University of Michigan. You must do something.

To the University:

It’s not you, University of Michigan. Your conception was pure, but it’s these people who sit highly in your buildings that have tarnished you. They have poisoned your integrity with greed for more green. They have ruined your value of education when they overlooked the way racism and sexism enter the classroom. Perhaps you have never lived up to your true intentions, because you were never free of these people. I hope that one day you find yourself ablaze in flames and fury. I wish all your walls come crashing down, because it was not you that built them. They were built by the wrong people. They were built as shields to protect privilege and power and not as hosts of multi-dimensional growth and liberation. In the midst of your ashes, I hope that all the voices who value the true possibility of education will rebuild your containers stronger than before. Then, your spirit will finally flow freely without oppression and injustice keeping you down. I dream that you become what you are meant to be.

To My Resilient Peers:

I will not paint this column completely in sorrow. My radical act is to pour what compassion and love is left within me and to extend it to you. Despite the hatred we are taught to have for ourselves and neighbors, I will not comply.

There are beautiful souls at this University that wake up each morning with a purpose. Some of them go to class and some skip class. Some study from their textbooks and some refuse to buy intellectualized and racist histories. Some learn through professors and some learn through the narratives that surround them. They are all different in the ways they navigate and survive at this University. But, none of them lay still as this institution tries to bury them. Their words and actions regardless of size are acts of resistance. Their joy and compassion are testaments to their strength in face of an institution that fears them. I have had the honor of meeting several people that do not put their heads down when they are told to. That do not remain silent when they are silenced. That do not spread hatred when they are washed within it. I have grown with some of these folks and have admired many more from a distance. Sadly, I know that there are many hearts that beat to this same tune that I will never meet. For you, I write this.

I hope that you will continue to find your source of darkness no matter what light surrounds you. Because, light can be blinding and it takes a pocket of darkness to readjust views. I hope you find something that shakes your core and moves you to act. I hope that you live life intentionally and never lose sight of your passions. I hope that you are happy and loved. Forever.

Maja Tosic can be reached at

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