It’s been a whirlwind lately. I know that I am pursuing the right career path for me. I attended the South West Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (SWACURH) conference this past weekend and I have to say it was so much fun! I met so many people from universities in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. I attended some amazing programs and learned a lot. I’m proud to say that UT left the conference with 3 award: Best Display, Second Place in the Programming Competition, and Program of the Year. It was really exciting. I never knew how much Longhorn pride I had until this conference.
Now yesterday was the icing on the cake for amazing things happening to me. I attended a Google Hangout put on by current HESA (Higher Education and Student Affairs) grad students at UVM. The one yesterday was targeted to queer people of color (QPOC). Sad thing was that I was the only undergraduate attending the hangout. However, it was extremely helpful. I met Lizzy, a first year QPOC Chicana and EK, a second year QPOC biracial woman. I also met Emery, a QPOC male through EK’s stream. Both EK and Lizzy were extremely supportive and enthusiastic. They answered all of my questions about adjusting to the weather, their social justice backgrounds, what there is to do during their free time, and what’s it like being QPOC at UVM. There answers were exactly what I was looking for. They said that it was challenging at times being a person of color at a PWI but what makes UVM stand out is that they promote having social justice conversations.
We didn’t just talk about UVM though. We talked about our lives. I got to brag about the amazing city that is Austin to the point that EK and Emery said if I don’t come to them, they are coming to me. I talked about my Minority Student Leadership Issues project that I got a perfect score on. I let them see me. They all said that if I do that during my interviews which they are hoping I get, then I’ll be there. It feels great knowing that people I’ve never met before and only spent an hour video chatting with are rooting for me and want me to succeed. All three said that they hope to work with me someday whether it was at UVM or somewhere else.
They are also trying to get me to attend the Creating Change conference since this year it’s in Houston. I’ve heard of the conference before through Shane Whalley, the education coordinator for UT’s Gender and Sexuality Center, and my mentor Mary Whitehead, a current PhD candidate at UTSA. Though I’ve heard of the conference, I didn’t know what it was. After doing some research, I feel like I would be a fool not to go.
Creating Change is a national conference for LGBT Equality put on by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. It’s a 5 day conference from January 29th-February 2nd. The problem is registration for the conference is $350. I really want to go and I mean really want to go. While I’d be full of financial aid and could easily pay for it, I have to think about the grad school preview days I will be attending and the costs of travel. I’m applying for that scholarship to bring the cost down. I figured I could stay at home with family and then attend the conference sessions during the day because the hotel is $139 a night! I do NOT have that kind of money. Hopefully, I’ll get the scholarship and will be able to go. If not, I will make a way. Maybe UT would help fund the trip through URHA, RAA, and RHC! I’ll just have to sell it to how it would be beneficial to the University. Same will go for the NASPA Conference.
The conversation with Emery, Lizzy and EK really gave me hope. EK said that it was UVM or bust for her and Lizzy said that she felt like she had to go right after undergrad. I’m hopeful for UVM because it is my dream school. It has everything I want from a grad program. Other schools have them, but none of them are at the height of UVM, for me, right now. It’s where I wanna be especially after all the social justice training I have.
I honestly never knew how much passion I had for social justice until this semester. Through the courses I’ve taken, the organizations I’m a part of, and my perspective on things, I am very social justice oriented. It really hit me when the Young Conservatives of Texas were planning a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game on campus and I got physically heated. I wanted to punch the main organizer. That had never happened to me before. It takes a lot to get me heated and there I was ready to cause physical harm. It was the whole premise of the game that upset me. Things like immigration aren’t a game, they are real life. I don’t know where this passion for social justice came from but I’m glad it is here.
Let’s hope UVM is ready for me!!! What is meant to be will be!