College: University of Oregon
Major: English and Ethnic Studies
Year: 2019 Dell Scholar
Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to attend University of Oregon.
It will help me succeed in my career path. I am an African American woman that loves to inspire and motivate people to go after what they love. I became an activist despite the many hardships one faces being black in America. I do a lot of spoken word that uplifts the souls of folks who need to hear or be reminded how special they are, and that no matter what challenges are thrown at you in life to never give up. I want to improve the lives of others, which is a huge reason I was drawn towards being an educator. I feel this is where I can effect positive change in other’s lives. The University of Oregon (UO) has great programs for earning your master’s degree in education, which is a significant reason why I like it.
It was an affordable option! I happened to choose UO because it is more affordable for me. They offered me a pathway that covered my tuition, and I was drawn in by that.
Close to home and family. It also happens to only be about two hours away from my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Because of this, I can see my siblings every other weekend and during breaks. This is something I love because they are a big part of my motivation.
As a first-year student, how has the adjustment gone moving away from home and engaging in UO’s campus community?
I decided not to live on campus my first year, as dorms were more expensive than an apartment. I moved in with three other girls I went to high school with. As an African American at a predominantly white institution, it’s not easy making friends when there’s not a lot of people that come from the same background as me. My three roommates are my closest friends for sure, otherwise I have made friends with folks who are from Portland and come from diverse neighborhoods.
I did make the intention of meeting other people by getting a job. However, I never became close with them and it took away the time I could have had to join clubs on campus, such as the Black Student Union. Now, I keep to myself, my small group of friends and building relationships with my professors and advisors I have gotten closer with at UO.
You seem driven to make a positive impact for yourself and community. Would you want to expand on this?
A lot of people, where I come from, don’t get an opportunity to have the financial and academic support of the Dell Scholars Program, which is why I am grateful to receive it. I know by continuing this journey I will impact many people of color by showing them it’s all about your mindset — staying positive is key. By simply attending college and working hard to earn a degree, I’m making a positive impact for my community by challenging the misleading narrative of underachieving in the higher education space. I want to be a true example of what black excellence looks like when facing adversity and finding the support I need to succeed.
At times, I don’t want to get up and go to school because I feel uncomfortable being surrounded by so many people that don’t look like me. But then, I think about my career field. There are not enough teachers of color and by becoming an educator I’m helping to shift that needle. Students don’t have to feel like I do in the future. I must learn how to push through and stay strong because there’s others looking up to me and I am doing it to change this system. We need more teachers of colors for many reasons and that’s why I am here.
What have you learned in your first semester at college?
Time management. I learned in my first semester to use time wisely. Time can easily get lost when you’re excited about the many things that are happening in college. However, as long as school always comes first then you are fine.
Find your support system. Another is finding support systems for yourself. I used my advisors and went to them often. As a first-generation college student, I can’t run to family for support, all I have are my advisors. They have helped me a lot to stay on track and stay motivated. I even just go to them to talk and let things off my chest, because they can find me resources and give me great advice.
We will have new Scholars coming into the program this spring. Do you have any advice for them?
Seize your moment! I want to tell the new Scholars that college may not be for everybody but make it for you. You have a choice of what kind of path you want in life. If you don’t work hard now it will haunt you later. Stay dedicated and remember those moments that you thought you couldn’t and use that as a way to see brighter in life. Everyone is destined for something but it’s upon you to find what’s your “Why” in life. If you ever feel down, remember how far you got and use that as a reason to keep going!
Make your decisions with due diligence. Also, be thoughtful about how you make certain decisions that will impact your life. If your intuition is telling you, something listen to that first. Then take advice from someone who has gone through or experienced what you are making your decision on. Friends who haven’t been through what you plan to go through aren’t always the best people to take your advice from, so keep that in mind.