This class has been a great asset to the American Higher Education Course that was offered during Fall term. I really enjoyed engaging in the course materials and reflecting on history and theory in regards to how it impacts our work around multicultural issues in higher education. I particularly enjoyed learning about the historical context of the United States and how their lived experiences of people of color has an impacted their experiences in the education system. This historical context that we engaged in as a class brought to light the concept of theory and how it can be used to advance in our practice as upcoming or current student affairs professionals to support students of color, first-generation, and non-traditional students in college.
Through the course readings and through reflections I was able to engage with the different perspectives from my classmates and learn about best practices and develop a list of ideas on how I can better support students. Two of my favorite readings this term were Creating Multicultural Change on Campus and We Gon’ Be Alright by Chang. Both readings allowed me to contemplate on my responsibility to students and what I can do in my own work to combat multicultural issues that can impact the student experience. More than anything, the readings gave me hope. We Gon’ Be Alright allowed me to be hopeful in the future and that there is still work to be done despite all the injustices that have happened. Through storytelling I had the opportunity to share my own story with others, and how my history influences my values and the role that I portray in education.
There’s so much to still continue learning, I believe that one of my areas of growth is becoming more familiar with theories and how I can use them in the future to support students’ experiences in higher education. I believe that this is such a difficult concept to me because I missed the connection between lived experiences and institutional change. For so long, I believed that as a minority student we were not entitled to institutional change, at least that’s what the education system had made me feel. I also plan to continue my learning by engaging in more readings like We Gon’ Be Alright to continue to be inspired and hopeful in the change and the work that is being done. I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn about other minority groups’ lived experiences. I hope to continue to engage in this type of learning through social justice retreats as a participant and hopefully as a leader one day. Finally, I hope to continue to engage in learning by sharing my experience and lived experience and encouraging others to do so as well in order to shape and reflect on the work that we execute as student affairs professionals. Our story is part of our identity and the values that we carry in the work that we do, exploring this deeper can allow us to better understand our role within higher education and how we can support students. Personally, having the opportunity to engage in storytelling and sharing my own story and personal journey has allowed me to rethink my future in student affairs and what area within higher education I would like to focus on.