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.

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

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Turning A Passion Into A Career

An interview with Reilly Patton

Millennials are dreamers, artists, scientist, leaders, and every occupation in between.

Though typically criticized for our work ethics, motivations, or aspirations, millennials are the most diverse generation to date. We are constantly moving towards technology, art, and expression through multi media platforms. Reilly Patton, a 21-year-old model and photographer from Dallas, told me all about what it is like to be a millennial in the modeling and photography industries. We discussed inspirations, careers, and how Reilly is setting an example for young artists.

In a society that is always changing, innovating, and challenging artists, photography is an extremely important field. Reilly currently lives in New York City, after relocating from Dallas, Texas in June to pursue modelling. After coming to New York, Reilly began to shift towards something he has always loved, photography. His career and advice are great examples of what it means to pursue your dreams. So obvioulsy, I sat down with him to see what it's like being a photographer in New York. Here's what he had to say:

How long have you been interested in photography?

I’ve been doing it my whole life, I’ve always loved capturing people and moments.

What made you transition from modeling to photography?

As I said, I’ve been doing photography my whole life, I only recently started modeling.

How has this transition changed your career?

Modeling has helped me make connections to take more photos of people I look up to and whose looks I want to capture.

What equipment do you prefer to use, and why?

I prefer to use film because I love the whole process and look of it. I develop and scan my own film as well!

How have you turned a passion into a career?

Hard work, consistency, and never giving up on my dream.

What is your favorite subject matter and do you have a favorite photograph?

Definitely portraits and fashion! I’ve taken so many photographs that it’s hard to choose, but my most recent favorite might have to be the one of Ameer that I posted on my Instagram

Whose work has influenced you the most?

William Eggleston, Daniel Arnold, and a lot of my friends.

Have you traveled for your career? If so, how have these places influenced you?

Yes! Every place has had their own influences and have taught me to be versatile in my work and with the gear I have.

How has living in a major city influenced your photography?

It’s actually helped a lot because of the amount of people in NYC. It gives me lots of people to take portraits of.

Check out all of Reilly's work on his Instagram, reillypatton_ to follow his photography career. As for a final piece of advice to young photographers, Reilly keeps it simple by saying,

Stay consistent!
Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Let's Be Confident And Loving Towards Our Own Genders

Sororities, Workplaces, And Social Life

My name is Melissa Sims and I’m in Alpha Chi Omega sorority. I went and listened to a motivational speaker for women and sororities and I would like to share the empowering knowledge that he brought to my eyes. I have always been afraid of feminists and the overbearing manner that they stereotypically carry, but this showed me that women love and need each other.

Being in a sorority brings about standards, regulations and certain images that we have to meet as "proper women of society." There are many women in sororities around the United States who face oppression and fear of the hierarchy that is instilled within the group, but we are fortunate enough to go to a school where this is not an issue.

However, even in the best schools, the century-old stigmas that men work under the power of men still stands. The speaker mentioned that we still, as sorority girls, dress for men at parties. We flaunt our bodies and desire male attention for the wrong reasons. We also drink for men, when they tell us to chug, to take shots, to "go hard." I am not saying I have not done these things, like dressing for men, but now, if I do them, it is out of my choosing. I dress for me, not for the eyes of drunken boys who only see a body and not a face.

Self-worth is something all women need to work on, especially in modern society. For example, the speaker told us a story about a fraternity residing at another school, neither of which will be named, created an event called the ‘Petting Zoo’ where women buy shirts and tickets to come and touch the men of the fraternity. The saddest part of this story is that sororities on campus actually competed to buy the MOST shirts or the MOST tickets. This not only shows a really bad taste in morale but shows low self-worth and standards. Why, for example, do we raise money at FGCU for fraternities like Sigma Chi in Derby days and do all the work and put in the time and emotional effort when they do not only help with our fundraisers but cannot even match half the money we raise for them? Cooking, cleaning, helping set up for events, walking around and raising awareness; these are all simple tasks that they can complete that can make a huge difference.

We as women must show confidence and independence not only in Greek life but socially and in the workplace. He told us, the audience, that as an employer, he looks for confident, strong women. A woman came in one day for an interview where he worked and he asked her to do something somewhat outrageous. When the woman stood her ground and not only said the task was too risky but defended her argument in a profession and determined manner. She was then hired on the spot, simply for knowing herself, her limits, and speaking her mind.

Let’s say a woman is in a board meeting in a room full of men and the woman proposes an idea. The idea is then shot down by a majority of the men and the woman silently obeys and moves on. The success is lost; nobody wants a team member who just follows the crowd. This is not a successful career or life perspective. If the woman proposes an idea that isn’t majority favored, she should then explain her theory, defend it, and be confident in her ability to make the job happen.

Women in the world right now need to understand that we only have ourselves to lean on. When we are mean to each other, it makes other girls think that it’s okay to make a person feel bad. The speaker spoke about how women nowadays need each other. When one woman is mean to another, for a man, this creates a distrust and fear between a gender that needs all the love and support we can get. He said, “Don’t tear down your sex.” These are words I live by.

“Society does not need or want women around who cannot be supportive or caring to one another. Set a positive example for younger girls. There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women, whether they are in the face of adversity or not.”

I now have a new appreciation for the love and generosity that this man has brought to my eyes. Love is not hard to give, you simply must be open to it. Women are strong, powerful, and unique. Every woman is passionate about something, so let us help one another to achieve our goals, to reach new heights, and build a better bond together.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

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