Update: Step 90

Summer moves so fast. I’m no longer a recent college graduate. I’m still a temporary protected status (TPS) holder, at least for another year or so. My TPS story has appeared in the Washington City Paper. I experienced some website and social media traffic when The Salvadoran American Leadership & Educational Fund (on Instagram as @_salef) stumbled upon my blog post from May, where Eliza Kingsley’s artwork was confused as my doing.

Since that little mishap and step into fame, I made some website updates for a more stranger-friendly format. Check out the homepage for: Workshops, a list of workshops I’ve run; Honors, a list of awards/opportunities; and Events & Readings because I’m a poet, world.

A recap of my summer days, filled with heat and rain:

June: the Dawn of Opportunity

June prepared me, as much as possible, for the rest of the summer. I had a communications consultant position. I spent several months proofreading documents, squeezed into a shared workspace. The dullness of the office work inspired me to spend time with the community at a social justice festival, a neighborhood gathering, and a DC protest.

I also graduated from the Teaching Artist Training Project just in time to jump into my role as poetry instructor for a group of DC youth. I say jump because Split This Rock needed a confirmation within 48 hrs. The choice was start full-time summer teaching or continue in my desk job, which would’ve ended within weeks due to the temporary nature of my jobs. I chose poetry.

July: Back to High School

Full-time teaching is an experience, and I nearly became consumed with teaching poetry and all its related challenges (post to follow!). There were challenges every day and fortunately, a field trip every week. Without booking it my planner, I went canoeing, to Sandy Point beach, and to the Renwick Gallery for the No Spectators exhibit.

Though a little rainy, I made it to Lotus and Water Lily Festival, my second year. Oh, and I managed to get a part in a community theater event in defense of immigration.

August: To a New Life Calendar

After 6 weeks of hard work, I concluded my first poetry instructor experience. I turned 24 and started this new life calendar by taking my first flight (or the first one that I’ll remember). I rejoiced in the small joys of a sunrise window at the Reagan National Airport and the surprise that airplanes don’t just take off or speed away; instead they take their sweet, safe time. The flight was to Houston: the Galleria, Discovery Green, the Museum District, and Rice University.

August is not over, so this means I can explore my local wonders all the while working on my future. I have jobs to find and resumes to send. I have poetry submissions to catch up to because I have slacked. Poems don’t publish themselves, and I’m working on it. I’m also finally committing myself to graduate school applications.

The choice of going back to school has taken several months of poet soul-searching. I have a future and that future will take place, as soon as I compile poetry samples and personal statements.

Cheers to the best and hardest summer yet.


Claudia Rojas is poeta. She’s also a TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holder. TPS protects individuals fleeing natural disaster and war on a temporary basis. The program has been extended for many years; no permanent solution has ever been presented. Call your member of Congress today through the FWD.us tool or find your representative’s info online. Send them a call to immediate action.

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