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Through a long period of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbana Literary & Arts magazine volume XV staff bonded online. With new additions to our family, we began to explore what this volume meant for each of us. After starting our college experience in the middle of a pandemic and navigating the post-COVID world, we had changed. The pandemic marked a before and after, just as starting our higher education path represented a window into a new world. With new phases in mind, we began to wonder what this volume would accomplish. In Latin American culture, turning 15 years old represents a step into adulthood. This tradition is one of the most significant rites of passage for many Latinx teenagers. For girls, it could mean a quinceañera fiesta and for boys a special trip with their dads. To honor our coming out and to celebrate our quinceañera edition, Urbana Literary & Arts magazine volume XV is dedicated to exploring rites of passage. 

We do not all share one universal experience, and it is our different upbringings that make us who we are today and continue to shape who we will be tomorrow. For some people, it is nurturing a passion, landing a first job, exploring sexuality, dreading the first day of school, or acknowledging those issues that affect humanity and mark a new shift in our perspectives. It is easy to get lost in the flow of life and not realize how far we have come and what has been the impetus for our actions. 

Throughout this volume, we invite you, the reader, to explore your own rites of passage and discover yourself within these pages. Although we recognize that as individuals, we are all unique, we still have the ability to empathize and connect with others’ experiences and share our own with the world. We embrace and reject traditions.

Like Gloria Anzaldúa, we feel “every increment of consciousness, every step forward is, a travesía, a crossing” and we are “again an alien in new territory. And again, and again.” Rites of passage are part of the universal human experience. From childhood to adulthood. From love to heartbreak. We all have a before and after, milestones and breakthroughs.

What are yours?

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