I was reading Becoming by Michelle Obama and she is talking about her experience at Princeton being one of very few African Americans on campus and it really got me to thinking about my own personal experience similar to hers.
I went to Canisius College here in Buffalo, NY. It’s a private college that is predominantly white. Michelle said that she spent 3 weeks on campus in the summer before the semester started to help her get acquainted to college life. I also spent about 3 weeks or so on campus before the semester started to get used to college. It was a requirement of the HEOP program that I was in. The group of us was made up of minorities with one Caucasian girl who ended up leaving before the summer program was over.
I remember vividly being the ONLY black girl in some of my classes & if we talked about slavery times I would feel super awkward! Almost as if everyone was looking at me even though they probably weren’t.
I remember taking a biology class that I found super hard but I just figured it was because I wasn’t smart enough until one day we were all outside of class talking about an upcoming test. I was really nervous and didn’t feel prepared. Then I over heard a group of white students talking about how easy the test would be because they had learned most of what we were learning in high school already. My high school barely touch the surface of what we needed for college. I had 3 different biology teachers in my senior year and at one point we didn’t have one. We had a substitute teacher sit in that just let us talk and play around. At the time I was happy about it. Being a careless high-schooler, I didn’t know how that would affect me later in life.
I realized that I would have to work harder on certain subjects to fill in the gap that had been created by simply not being able to get the best education growing up because of growing up in the hood, lack of money, and a lack of resources.
Even now I always feel like I have to prove myself to others. It’s not like I seek the approval of others but I like for it to be known that I can hold my own regardless of my skin color or gender. I’ve never used my skin color as a crutch, in fact, I think of it more as a cape that completes my superhero costume. Nonetheless, I had to work hard and not make excuses. Sometimes you have to be the loudest person rooting for yourself. Push yourself and truly know and believe that they sky is not the limit and you can accomplish what you set your mind to.
Thanks for Stopping by!
With love as always,
Jamie Jabber 💕