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From Us In Charcoal: Audree Damiba

Audree Damiba (she/her/hers), is a senior from Manhattan, New York studying Philosophy. Her journey in Charcoal began this Fall Semester and is currently one of the Editorial Copy Editors. As someone who defines herself as an observer with a passion for self learning it has led her to a path full of enriching experiences.

Get to know them:

What’s your family background? How has your family background influenced your upbringing?

My mother is Haitian, my dad is from Burkina Faso and I grew up going to a French/American bilingual school, so growing up with multiple languages and cultures is one of the defining aspects of my upbringing and of my life today. I am constantly seeking to learn about new cultures and to place myself in settings where I can meet people from around the world. If I don’t have that international setting, then I feel like there is something missing.

Do you have a favorite cultural celebration or tradition?

I didn't really grow up celebrating many holidays that are specific to either one of my parent’s cultures, but I guess a celebration that occurs in French culture that I did take part in was the Three Kings Day celebration that takes place on January 6th, where you buy a cake, called a “Galette des Rois,” that has a little ceramic figurine hidden inside, and the one who ends up with the slice containing the figurine wins, and gets to wear a crown for the rest of the evening. I still lik

e celebrating it to this day, mainly because that cake is so good and you can’t get it any other time of the year :)

How did your journey with Charcoal begin?

When I first arrived at BU, a friend of mine was in Charcoal and I got to learn about the publication through her. Throughout my time at BU I have been aware of the publication, and finally decided to join in my senior year.

Best and hardest part of the position?

The best part is being able to read inspiring pieces, and getting to know creative people who are great at what they do. The hardest part, or part that has taken some getting used to, is trying to get on the same page with the writer, so that we can work towards a common product for the piece.

Are you part of any clubs outside Charcoal? Do you feel a sense of community in any?

This year I am in one other club at BU— I am an editor for Arché, BU’s philosophy journal. It’s difficult for me to speak on feeling a sense of community given that I just joined both publications, however I have to say that Charcoal has an energy of conviviality that is incomparable to any club I have been a part of.

What are your hobbies and passions?

Hobbies include watching shows and movies, reading and having fun, enriching experiences with my friends and families.

What’s been the best thing about your college experience?

Learning about myself, and embracing the uncertainty.

Do you regret anything from your college experience? Would you change anything?

There are many things I wish I had done differently in my college experience, and in this last year I am trying to learn to be at peace with those regrets. I switched my major in the second semester of my sophomore year and I wish I had found what interested me a lot sooner. I feel like the first 3 years stumbling around, struggling to find my footing. Now that it seems like I am standing on some sort of solid ground, I feel like it's a bit too late.

Has there ever been a time when you felt you were struggling or overwhelmed? How did you overcome it? How did you grow/ what did you learn?

The honest answer is that I have no idea. There have definitely been times where there didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I just pushed through I guess, and now I have the perspective to know that no matter how dark it seems, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how far away it feels.

How have you changed over the years? From high school to college? From freshman to current year?

The version of me who started high school would not believe the person that I am today. When I started high school, 7 years ago now, I was a radioactive ball of insecurity. I moved through the world with such uncertainty, my movements were smaller and my voice quieter. Today, although I am still a reserved person, I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin, like the body I live in actually fits the person I am.

When I came to school freshman year I thought I knew what I wanted, in fact, I was certain. I had this very clear vision of what these four years were going to look like, but now I have no clue what I want, and in many ways that feels like a regression, like a failure. But I am learning to be okay with the uncertainty and to accept that it is a part of my learning process, even if it feels really confusing and daunting right now. And although it is only my first semester in Charcoal, I feel like just being a part of this publication and being surrounded by such inspiring and creative people has really reinvigorated me and motivated me to continue to follow what I love.

What are you gonna do with that $300,000 degree?

Well that’s the $300,000 question… To be honest, I’m not sure. I feel lucky to be able to obtain a $300,000 degree in the first place because I know that opportunities will be more readily available because of it, so I intend to ensure that I put it to good use.

How would you describe/ define yourself to other people? How would they describe/ define you?

I would describe myself as an observer. I am curious about things and I like to meet new people and have new experiences, without necessarily being at the center of it all. I don’t know how other people would describe me, and it kind of stresses me out to think about it. You would have to ask them :)

Any Hot Takes?

I know everyone seems to hate group projects, but I truly don’t think they’re that bad… Maybe I’ve just been lucky that I haven’t had any bad group project experiences (knock on wood!).