Students of Color Perspectives: I Almost Didn’t Come to Brown!

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Hello! I’m Alexis Rodriguez and I will be your first-year blogger for Students of Color Perspectives. I blog my own experiences as Chicano guy, and I am super stoked to share what it means to be a student of color in a University named after a color.

First things first, who am I? (no, this isn’t some sort of existential crisis… we’ll get into that later). I am your best acquaintance at Brown! There are tons of questions concerning diversity at Brown as well as the struggles that come with it, but rest assured I’m super stoked to share what it means to be a student of color in a University named after a color!

Before we get ahead of ourselves let me introduce myself: I was born and raised in Watsonville, California. It’s not NORCAL or SOCAL its Cencal … (jk nobody says Cencal) it’s the Central Coast. Watsonville is a predominately Latino community, my parents and siblings are Mexican Immigrants and for the most part so were everyone else’s in my city. I am the youngest of five children, but all my siblings are ridiculously older than me like a 20 year gap, so for all intents and purposes I am an only child, and consequently I don’t like to share but that’s probably unrelated. I am currently (key word currently) double concentrating in Urban Studies and Environmental Science, my roommate is Polish and I would legitimately cry if he ever asked me to borrow something, but it’s all good cause he ignores the chaos which is my side of the room. For the most part that’s my orgin story, as of now.

But let’s get into my aforementioned existential crisis, I almost didn’t come to Brown!

I was really excited to get into Brown, it’s all one could ever want in a University; open curriculum, beautiful campus, amazing people. But it was vastly different to what I am used to. In my city, I could relate to anyone merely by talking about how assertive Mexican Moms can be. My best friends understood my culture because we shared the same one. I questioned who I would be without the comfort of a common ethnicity. In one hand I could go to a University with childhood long friends and remain the same or come to Brown and meet new people whose experiences were different from my own, in where I would reevaluate who I was. I chose to challenge myself.

The diversity in life experiences and ethnicity was a definite culture shock especially because as a student of color, I was too comfortable in my own ethnicity that it frightened me to experience new things. But coming to Brown is the BEST decision I’ve ever made. I’ve spent nights playing UNO, until three in the morning, with friends talking about our experiences and cultures. And every conversation has related, questioned or merged, values. But there are also times when this exchange of experiences is difficult, and sometimes impossible because of people’s own different perspectives, but it is still a worthwhile experience/struggle that you grow from. I would have learned so many life lessons had it not been for Brown, and its only been a couple weeks! So if you are questioning coming to Brown, even if it’s not a matter of being a student of color, e-mail me, I’ve been there.

Hopefully you made it out of my first blog alive and well. Again, I’m super stoked to be able to blog about my experiences as a student of color at Brown this year. Check in next week, as I write about different stories and topics pertaining to the struggle and the benefits of being SOC (student of color)!

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to email me at alexis_rodriguez-camacho@brown.edu!

Until next week,
Alexis

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