Self-Segregating As A Black Student Attending A PWI

Self-Segregating As A Black Student Attending A PWI

We depend on them in order to prosper.
86
views

This summer I participated in a pre-college program called STOV where I created relations with people from different backgrounds.

I developed friendships with Asian, Hispanic and Caucasian kids. One thing we talked about was that when the school year started we knew that our dynamic would not be the same, because we naturally self-segregate. As I assumed correctly, the shift happened, but we made it our mission to hang out and to talk when we see each other.

So a few weeks ago during fall break, I visited my KIPP High school, where I had a conversation with my old teacher. I spoke to her about having to adjust being at a PWI and learning to interact with white students. She told me that a part of white privilege is that you do not have to necessarily adjust.

For example, most white students are coming from a predominantly white high school, making going to a white college not much of a difference.

The truth of the matter is that they can go their whole college career not having to interact with people outside their race. But unfortunately, in order to prosper at this school, I have to infiltrate and assimilate into their system. Whether that is to interact with my white professors, RA, public safety or classmates. It's an adjustment for me.

So when in class, I no longer just have the barrier of not knowing my classmates, but now also the barrier of being an “outsider” to them. I see them self-segregate, which to me, is fine in social settings because to some extent I do the same. But it becomes difficult for me when I am the only person of color in the classroom and everyone gravitates to who and what they already know.

I no longer have the luxury of clinging to my norm. In high school, my teammates were black and my study groups were minorities and people that I have known for years. I am now surrounded by people we are intimidated by me so they hesitant in approaching me. I have become the person who smiles and says hi; some have responded and others choose to ignore me.

I have been thrust out into reality, and to some extent, I feel that I am the only one willing or making an effort to connect. But maybe that is just my life as a black student at a PWI.

Cover Image Credit: Joshua Ness

Popular Right Now

20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
450388
views

After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I'm The Shy Girl Who Isn't Really That Shy

I'm not a shy girl, but I am a girl who likes to listen. I have my own ideas and I'll share them with you, just wait.

139
views

I'm the shy girl who isn't really shy.

I was always seen as shy from the outside and by people who didn't really know me. But, when I told my dad I was shy, his response was "No, no you're not."

And when I get to know people, I often get a "wow, you're not actually shy at all."

They're right, I'm not really that shy, but sometimes I don't exactly feel comfortable showing my whole self to people I just met.

And as much as I wish I could always feel comfortable; as much as I wish didn't have to go over what I was going to say in a class discussion 100 times in my head before I (hopefully) had the courage to speak, I think that's just who I am and I wouldn't trade that for the world.

It's kind of hard to explain, but there are some people I instantly feel comfortable with. On the other hand, in some situations, it takes me a little longer to get comfortable. And that's okay.

You see, I'm not the type of person who gets a high off of validation or attention.

Sure, sometimes attention can be nice and validation can feel good, but I don't need it. I am content enough with myself to receive validation from myself. I am able to give myself all the attention I need.

I hate it when people say, "Oh why aren't you talking? You're so shy."

I'm not talking because I don't want to. I like to listen and you like to talk. That's okay, but we all have our own cup of tea.

Plus, you didn't even get to know me or give me the chance to talk, but now I feel absolutely squished.

Give me the respect to be myself at my own pace, as I'm giving you the respect to be yourself at your own pace. It's okay that our paces are different.

And if I feel comfortable around you — if I'm myself around you, consider yourself lucky. That's not something that necessarily comes easy for me; it's not easy to give myself to anyone. That's something I'm working on, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.

I'm not a shy girl, but I am a girl who likes to listen. I have my own ideas, and I'll share them with you, just wait.

Related Content

Facebook Comments