As someone studying, human-centered design, I know that it’s not all about the numbers – in fact, it’s one of the least important pieces of data to me because I am more interested in people’s stories and the way they feel about things – but here we go anyway:
During the past 3 months, I took 21 credits, participated in 2 research groups, completed an honors project about the importance of representation, sautered some wires to buttons and lights, wrote 6 articles, and worked with scores of students at the Writing Center. I smiled for hundreds of photos with my pals, took senior photos for all of my lovely graduating friends, ate a lot of donuts at General Porpoise, and listened to a lot of dope live music. I talked to people about grad school and maybe kinda felt that I could get a PhD in education (something I’ve always wanted to do but was afraid to admit). I’m queer as hell and I’m proud to finally be out and expressing my deep & profound love to all the womxn in my life.
But I know I have work to do.
I’m still learning how to be a person of impact. For the last weeks, I listened to educators and activists and teachers who reminded me that I need to do better to be a more inclusive, authentic, and supportive writer and tutor. I need to remember my privilege and the immense of opportunities that have come from my positionality as a South Asian woman who has the financial support of my parents and citizenship and a skin tone that’s just light enough that no one tells me I don’t belong in this country when I walk down the street (something that my peers can’t always say) – there are some struggles that I’ll never understand, and the most important thing I can do is listen, support, advocate, and educate myself and others.
I have no idea how I’ve become someone that my younger self would be proud to know. I’m halfway shocked that I’m still in college and absolutely terrified that someone will tell me that I won’t make it, that my time is up, that college isn’t for people like me, especially since I’m deferring graduation for a year. But for God’s sake, I know that 5 years to study the right thing is what I need because I deserve to feel empowered and motivated and inspired by my work and colleagues.
The other day, my friend texted me “you win!” in response to my message that I’d received credit for a project I was doing.
But I also win because I’m going to keep going until I’m making a life in service of others. I win because I’m not afraid to be authentic and the good stuff but also the tough stuff.
I have immense gratitude for everyone who has accompanied on this journey to find what I need/want/deserve. Thank you for loving me, for supporting, for telling me that I have something important to give to others.
I am eternally grateful, and I hope to give back this love in everything I do from here on out. I will make you and me and everybody else proud. This is for us ❤
The next 6 months will be wild – I’ll be interning at Microsoft, studying abroad in Prague with some side trips (I’m going to be in Budapest on my birthday!), When I come back, I’ll be writing a thesis and finishing a capstone presentation. A year from now, who knows where I’ll be headed – but I hope that it’s bringing me closer to a life that I’m moved by. I hope that I can become a person of impact right where I am, not in some far away job or career of life.
Odds and Ends:
Do you look both ways when you cross my mind
how do you lose an electric toothbrush
although everyone doesn’t have access to technology, we all have access to stories that inspire us.
the first principle of aid is respect
people don’t forget their history
do it all for the love
I am everything at once
Advancing racial equity in health outcomes, educational outcomes, and the elimination of systemic oppression, is the work of all public health professionals
The longer poems are thick with truth and criticism of the lack of visibility of writers of color in literature and poetry and the grief of losing an identity you never knew to the western world.
Her job as tutor still comes back to her initial identity of a storyteller – one who expresses their own stories and accesses the parts of them that enable others to tell their story as well.
I was definitely drunk, on Cupid’s arrows, on Valentine’s chocolates, on Christmas trees and late-night calls and snowball fights and hoodies that smell like him.
I had this feeling deep in my gut that I would love her
Now, when I’m in Karachi, all I see are the rusted doors, the chipped paint, the filthy plumbing, the flies.
I am remembering to love my mind because of what it enables me to create, and my body because it takes me to places that I had only dreamed of seeing
“At Microsoft, CEO Satya Nadella talks about a product ethos that stresses the importance of creating products that are user-friendly, empathetic, and collaborative. This means well-crafted UX with carefully chosen words and messages to guide you through the system. No docs needed — just intuitive UX.”
Imagination is a contagious disease. It cannot be measured by the yard, or weighed by the pound, and then delivered to the students by members of the faculty. It can only be communicated by a faculty whose members themselves wear their learning with imagination
the story is changing
we are humans that take back our lives
Not all battles are worth it
there is love here
sometimes you have to make your own history
who you are is important for your work
the magic has been in all of us all along
No one person is going to be able to transform the institution. It takes all of us pushing and lifting
One thing is clear: the hugely successful impact of OMA&D. “Without this office, I probably would’ve dropped out,” Fonseca confesses. “If I didn’t have these spaces where I felt like people were going to understand me, I wouldn’t have stayed. I would’ve felt like it wasn’t for me, just like I believed growing up that college wasn’t for me. I would’ve fulfilled that prophecy
your skills as a listener (even to yourself) and storyteller are certainly on display here.
Until things change, we’ll always be in that space, until we’re the ones in front of the classroom. Until we’re the ones writing the new books that students learn from. Until we’re the ones sitting at the table in the boardrooms. Part of the questioning is because we’ve never been allowed to be there before