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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Security guard Semaj Robinson talks crocheting, Christ, creativity

Robinson’s grandmother taught her to sew at a young age, but she only started crocheting during the pandemic. (Semaj Robinson)

Working on her newest crochet project, Semaj Robinson can often be found sitting behind the front desk of Lake Residence Hall. Robinson, who has worked at Tulane University as a security guard for a year now, uses crocheting as both a therapy and a side hustle. 

Robinson was born in New Orleans, but was forced to evacuate her childhood home and move to Texas after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After moving from Texas to Atlanta and then back to the West Bank, Robinson attended L.W. Higgins High School and graduated from Helen Cox High School. 

Robinson excelled in math in school, graduating with honors. Outside of academics though, she found it difficult to find creative outlets at schools besides her standard art classes, so she sought after them at home.

As a young girl, Robinson’s grandmother taught her how to sew. 

“I wanted a sewing machine real, real bad, and she taught me all the basic stitches,” Robinson said.

As she grew older, she used her sewing skills to advance to crocheting. Robinson said she picked up the skill during the pandemic after seeing it on TikTok.

“I was like ‘Oh? Y’all making y’all’s clothes?” Robinson said.

Robinson said her transition from sewing to crocheting was not an easy one, though. It took her two weeks to figure out the stitches, but she was determined to learn. 

Robinson plans on making an official business to sell the items that she crochets, but for now, she takes commissions on Instagram, including requests from Tulane students. 

“A few of my orders have been from Tulane. My first order from a Tulane student was a pair of pants,” Robinson said. “The set and the top are actually for Tulane students.” 

In addition to crocheting, Robinson enjoys hobbies such as drawing and building furniture sets. 

“I just have a lot of hobbies that are put on hold,” Robinson said, “I still do them because whatever you don’t use you’re going to lose.” 

Robinson, who struggles with insomnia, said she sometimes has trouble navigating the long hours at her job and often does not get home until between 6:20 to 6:30 in the morning. 

“Three, 12 ½- hour shifts [a week]. It’s easily done, I don’t have any issues,” Robinson said. “[Except] some days I’m just not up for it.” 

When asked about her future career goals, Robinson says she has plans in the making. 

“I don’t see myself here [at Tulane] for a long, long time,” Robinson said. “I have some plans, but I don’t like to talk about them until I put the steps in.”

Robinson said that an important aspect of her story is her relationship to God.

“I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety,” Robinson said. “The one thing that kept me together was getting close to God. Getting close to God and getting to know Jesus really held me together these last couple of years.” 

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