If I had not met this amazing woman, I would have been lost [Tell Your Story]

7 Mar

Being a first-generation college student, and being a young woman of color, the university can be very isolating and feelings of alienation overwhelm me.  I started at the university very young, I had no idea of what to expect when I got here because no one in my family went to college.  I felt completely alone and helpless.  I was forced to cope and learn by default from being away from my family and having no understanding of university life.  It wasn’t until someone I first met at the university who had to physically walk me over to meet another woman of color that has been at the university already and thought that I should meet her.  I met this other woman of color and we connected right away.  I call her my sister, my mentor, my family away from home.  This woman was so supportive, gave me advice, took me to meet her family, and made me feel like I had someone that I can depend on if anything were to happen to me.  My point is, that if I had not met this amazing woman, I would have been lost, and I would have dropped out of academia.  

My whole university experience has been better because I met this woman.  I never felt judged by her, never felt any negativity from her.  She saw me as an equal, she saw me as someone she could help get through this journey of academia.  Crossing paths with this woman was a blessing because I feel like many women of color on this campus are hidden away, going about their business, almost invisible.  Specifically, in my department, I can count on one hand how many faculty of women of color that I know.  There are not many, and as a result I feel disconnected to a majority of my professors because I feel they do not understand my experience.  I can also count on one hand the total of faculty women of color professors I had throughout my undergraduate and graduate experience.  It is disappointing that I can count on one hand the women of color professors that I have over the course of 6 years.  Although this is disappointing and the issue needs to be addressed and resolved, I had a mentor, who was not a professor, that kept me grounded and focused.  The journey was and still is difficult for me, but I try to remind myself that other women sacrificed so much for me to be where I am today, in hopes that I will someday pave the way for younger women and be a positive and loving mentor.

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Do you want to tell your story? You can do so here. You will be kept anonymous (leaving an email address is optional) unless you ask not to be.

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