Although I have my own personal opinions about what my college experience has been like while being here at Ithaca College, I will admit I have had the chance to partake in amazing opportunities. I have had the chance to meet some of my favorite people in the entire world, whether that was the summer before officially starting college or my sophomore year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I have met people who have changed my life and mean so much to me — people who I want and feel like I need for the rest of my life.
Being a student at the college gave me the chance to meet a professor who broke my heart and gave me life during class — a professor who became like my mom while I was in college. She introduced me to life outside of college and brought me to spaces to build relationships with people from Ithaca. She introduced me to the Southside Community Center and the little kids, specifically the little Black girls who became like my babies, while they saw me as their older sister. She introduced me to the Community Unity Music Education Program, where I became a camp counselor and got to meet an amazing family that I babysat for.
In my first year, I had the opportunity to be president of the college’s only Hispanic/Latinx club, PODER. Being a part of this club gave me the opportunity to be able to host a banquet alongside the executive board for students back in 2019. It also gave me a chance to meet other students of color and build relationships with them as well as other clubs.
In my first year, I also had the opportunity to be a part of what we called Honoring Blackness at IC alongside so many of my favorite people, such as Nia Nunn, associate professor in the Department of Education’s Black Feminist Thought Seminar. We even discussed and brought to light conversations about sexual assault that same first year, but we called it OUR STORY IS NOT HISTORY — shining a light on conversations across the communities of color and even inviting other schools to participate in these conversations as well.
I have had the opportunity to be a Student Ambassador for the Education Department’s Spring Lecture Events back in 2019 for Bettina Love, athletic association endowed professor at the University of Georgia, and discuss how her work impacted myself and others.
One of the opportunities I will never forget was traveling to London during spring break in 2020. Being able to travel halfway across the world for a class was something I never even dreamed of, but it happened. And taking the time to learn about Black History somewhere else was something that changed my life to the point where I wanted to study abroad there before COVID-19 hit. This opportunity would definitely have not been possible without the college.
The biggest opportunity I had was given to me by the Office of Access, Opportunity and Achievement here at the college — the possibility to even attend college as a first-generation, low-income, Black woman. Now I have the opportunity to mentor folks and just be another hand of support for them. I do have my iffy moments about being here or about even attending here but I have no regrets. The college gave me the opportunity to have met so many people who love and support me and vice-versa and will always have my back, along with the opportunity to have had these experiences, be taught life lessons, take classes, meet amazing professors, laugh, cry, go to parties, enjoy the kick-backs, the events — everything.
So shout out to Ithaca College, even though I hate it here.