This week, my first grad school assignment was due.

3 days before it was due, I put my head down on Toshi the laptop and cried.

I had absolutely no idea what to write about.

Normally, I’m pretty good at coming up with bull that sounds inspired, but this time I wasn’t having any luck. For about 45 minutes I sat staring at a black screen. Then, I decided to take a look at the syllabus, the book, and the secondary reading. Suddenly, like a divine blessing from the Lord, I came up with an idea and wrote a short, concise critical response. When I handed it in, I nearly heard angels playing “We are the Champions” on rock organs I was so pleased. (I’m sorry, but angels are neither fluffy nor pretty in my head. When I think of angels, I think of hardcore dudes with pierced wings and electric guitars.) My class went on break and I went outside to do cartwheels I was so happy. I was unfortunately spotted by one of my classmates and then had to pretend like I was working out a leg cramp.

I don’t think she bought it.

About 15 minutes later, we got back to class and the teacher said, “I was looking over my syllabus and I realized I didn’t really give you a good description of what I expected you to do for your critical response. What I want is for you to come up with an original idea and then use the text and the secondary reading to prove your point. So for example, if you were to write a response this week on “Middle Passage” you wouldn’t write it on something like intersubjectivity because that’s really obvious and unoriginal. You wouldn’t be making any head way because so much has already been written on that subject. Gyasi, you wrote a critical response this week. What did you write yours on?”