Brushstroke here with another blog post,
Yesterday, my team and I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual SUNYxCBI send off. The event equipped High School students with tips and advice on how to not only survive Freshmen year but also how to maximize their success while there.
The students all sat together by schools that they will be attending in the fall. I got to meet some incoming Bulls! We had a scavenger hunt that taught them about different offices that could help them with different issues that might arise like Roommate conflicts or wanting to change meal plans.
In addition, they had some amazing speakers, that left not only an impression on them but us as well, even gave Zoom goosebumps.
I honestly could not choose a favorite speaker because their speeches all related but had their own unique touch. The three speakers were all men of color and they were all success stories. I think coming from inner city urban areas it’s hard to find role models that not only go to college but surpass expectations and stereotypes. They were really special because it was beautiful to not only see that Hispanics and African American students can make it, but reach the status of having masters and PhD’s and own their background and where they came from and truly be happy.
One of the speakers was actually a Chief Diversity Officer at FIT, Ron Milon. He touched my heart, especially because he managed to bring love into a conversation about diversity which I have never really heard of before. But now I can truly see the importance in having love for not only what you do but just people in general. His speech made me realize I need to be more aware of the way that I speak and use more positive language in overall. I think it’s very easy to blame others whether for bad things that happen in life. And whether or not it’s true generalizations and negativity do not help the situations. When I speak if I’m not mindful of the language it’s very hurtful to people who are listening who are either influenced by me and even hurtful to myself. It was defiantly something that I realized I should be more mindful of.
The next speaker Edmund Adjapong, was also really special. He was a fellow Bronx native like your girl. And he was the definition of inspiring. Not only was he intelligent but he had a plan and a passion. It took him time to get there and he spoke about that process as well as being lost. I think that that’s something that everyone goes through in their academic/ college career. Moments where you just don’t know who or why you’re doing anything for. So, it was beautiful to see him describe coming out of that uncertainty and mix his passion and his drive to a career. He teaches, does research and infuses his love for hip hop in all he does including his classrooms (which is a science classroom, I couldn’t believe it). Not to mention he has a bachelors, three masters and a PhD all by the age of 27. Just goes to show that good things do come out of the Bronx, unlike popular beliefs. His creativity influenced all things he was passionate about, and seeing students face light up at the mention of nontraditional paths whether that’s majoring in art, or drama, was breathtaking. His speech left me believing that you just need to put your creativity to use every day and eventually you’ll see the bigger picture.
The last speaker was also incredible. He was the youngest of three, in a Hispanic household. Being the oldest of three, I related to his story about his eldest sister who was first generation college student. Having to sort out everything in terms of FAFSA, TAP and even the college process alone, because our parents had no understanding of that. Something that he said really stood out to me, “If life is 100%, 50% are things that are out of your control, now what are you going to do with the remaining percent?” I am a very firm believer of whatever happens, happens. And he summed the balance of life’s plan with your own plan perfectly.
Getting to see people of color succeed that aren’t just TV actors or famous for something but actually in real life, that’s rare for me. I got to see and meet some really cool heroes. They just inspired me to continue to wear my cape proudly and to create my own narratives.
So, I leave you with this, continue to do what you love and love what you do every day, everything else will fall into place.