This year has been a big one for me. I have felt myself be challenged. I have learned more than I ever thought possible. And I have become confident in myself in ways I never thought were going to be possible for me.
Going into senior year, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But soon I found out that I was going to be educated. I was in a training class to be a diversity educator with DEEP Impact through CMSS (Center for Multicultural Student Services), I was in a Social Movements class, and my intro class to Humanitarian Affairs. Throughout all of these classes, my privilege was constantly checked. I learned my position in relation to others. I was taught how to recognize the identities that overlap and make up my whole being. I was able to recognize how these identities relate and work with others and their identities. Intersectionality is a real thing and we must be educated on it. We must see how parts of our identity affect other parts, but how all these parts create who we are.
This education from last semester has turned into action this semester. I started an internship as an Outreach assistant with a sexual assault and domestic violence center. I am an official diversity educator and volunteer by facilitating dialogues about various topics in diversity. I am also learning how to be a good advocate through a Genocide and Refugee Advocacy class. And of course I am writing for ShoutOut! Through these experiences I am learning more about those communities where resources are limited. Where resources are withheld from them for no reason despite who they are. I am realizing that advocacy is hard work. We cannot solve injustice in one semester. I am realizing that working for justice is a job sometimes full of disappointment, but at the same time always asking for us to remain hopeful. We have to remain hopeful because it comes down to human beings and their human rights.
Lastly, this year has shown me the power of strong community. This year has taught me to hold onto those who make me want to be a better person. It has shown me what good friends are and how surrounding yourself with people who genuinely care for you and support you can do wonders for your mental health. I have found my group; my friends who are always there to listen to me and accept me for the quirky, sometimes too sassy, and very passionate person that I am (including when they pushed me to pursue my love for spoken word and got me on stage.) Within these friendships (cheesy alert), I have also found a partner that has shown me how a relationship should look with vulnerability, respect, and support. He has shown me that I can be accepted as myself by someone else without feeling a pressure to change. Through this community, I always feel stable and even in times where I do feel the ground shaking a bit, I know I have them to fall back on.
So this blog I was told to be called the “Year of Robin.” Oh right, that’s my name by the way. I figured with four weeks left of my undergraduate career, I don’t mind people knowing who I am. Anyways, this is the Year of Robin. I am going to continue striving to dig deeper and learn more about myself and the world around me. I am going to continue to let myself be challenged because challenges make you stronger. Take some advice from my favorite movie, Little Miss Sunshine: “Do what you love and fuck the rest.” Do things in your life that you care about, not for what others are expecting of you and do what you love with those you care about around you for support.
I know I have a long way to go, but right now, I am feeling pretty good about 2016.