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Why it matters to me…
Many things happened today; I had my Peer Mentor Interview; I found out that I need to work on controlling my accent to be a good public speaker (I know, accent kicks in again); I had two really thought provoking discussions in my HOPE and MOSAIC groups; and I got selected for the prestigious ALANA-A Brothers and Sisters Leadership Program. (Yes, I was jumping with joy after it actually sunk in that it was real).
Lots of different things you would say, (and you are probably thinking- “this kid talks a LOT!”) but funnily and unconsciously, I went back to the same notion again and again throughout these many different encounters: diversity, individuality, empathy. [*Phew* those are some pretty strong words for a college freshman to talk about, right? Maybe I am just rambling for all you know lol.]
Now, as anyone who knows me well enough will also know that I am pretty involved on campus: Hall Council, Diversity Committee, Clubs, discussion groups etc. Also, as anyone would know, I am also involved specifically with Diversity a lot. I spoke to the faculty about it, I spoke to the Board of trustees about it and I always speak to my fellow peers about it. So, what is the thing with Diversity and me? Why do I even care about it? How does it matter to me? Come to think of it, I am not even from this country! I am just a simple international student like possibly many other international students in this country, whose sole purpose for being here should be to achieve what they have come to achieve! Diversity plays no role in that!
Why should I care if some people have some silly preconceived notions about me? Why should I care if some people place me in stereotypes when they try to assess me? Why should I care if people think my accent makes me different? Why should I care if I am not like the hundreds of others around me?
Well, you see, the problem is not why should I care, the problem is that I care.
Yes, I care. Why?
I honestly have no idea.
Maybe it is in knowing that sometimes feeling “different” is a much more disturbing notion than feeling “alike”. Maybe it is in knowing that having no one to relate to can be much more difficult than having too many friends to hang out with. Maybe it is in knowing that sometimes you don’t have the same access to a life as ten others around you; or maybe it is in knowing that you have a life that tens of others don’t.
I don’t know why I care for what I care. I just know that I do.
I might not know why this concept of “inclusion”, “diversity”, “individuality” means so much to me. But I think I do know what matters to me: it matters to me if someone doesn’t have an ear to listen to them; it matters to me if someone doesn’t have a mouth to speak to them; it matters to me if someone doesn’t have a shoulder to cry on; it matters to me if someone doesn’t have the arms to hug them; it matters to me, if someone feels it’s wrong just because it’s different; it matters to me if someone feels they are wrong justbecause they are different.
Diversity, social justice, inclusivity, and leadership are pretty big words for me. I probably care for them, but I still have to figure out why. But what I do know is that I have learnt it’s not the differences in a person that really matter, but it’s the person who matters more than the differences.
Yes, I care and no I don’t have any big reason to. I don’t have any dreams of changing the whole world etc etc. like some other amazing students. I will be honest. I am just a freaking stupid freshman! But what I do know is that to me what I care for matters a lot, and I think that’s what makes all the difference. J
Love, thoughts, and smiles
P.s: A shout out to my family on Stonehill who helped me reach this conclusion! You know who you are J Also a shout out to the amazing ABS leaders, both new and old, for the thing you stand for! Know that it matters…and it matters a lot!
P.P.S: I promise the next post will be about more mundane things and not super reflective stuff! lol
Intercultural Affairs at Stonehill College