When we’re born we come into this world pure, pristine and untainted by the world’s harshness, each of us a clean and untouched piece of marble. We all age though, and as we age we begin to lose pieces of ourselves, and our marble becomes chipped as life begins to carve away at us. Like all art however, the artist’s hands are what makes the masterpiece.
In life the artists are the people who we choose to let into our lives and give pieces of ourselves to. But if they don’t share the same vision we do for ourselves they will only damage the marble, leaving scars and cracks along the way rather than adding beauty and light.
It is too easy to allow the wrong artists to touch us; it is too easy to let a spoken word run wild ahead of a broken promise. Still though our marble is beautiful, with so many untouched corners. Even in the worst lighting the right artist will see beauty; let those people into your life. Let the people who see you in your worst lighting, and still add beauty to your masterpiece, stay. As heavy as marble may be, we have to pick up and move from those who only cause damage; those who damage us do not deserve us. Damage is not what artists do.
In the last few weeks as judgement flies freely over social media and even in everyday conversation, it’s sometimes too easy to get lost in our own minds. While we know that nobody is perfect sometimes we might forget that our way of life, of doing things or of handling a situation is not the only way. I actually deactivated my facebook a week or so ago because logging in was starting to make me sick and just disgusted with the people I saw every single day bashing and judging complete strangers. It’s one thing to agree to disagree or to acknowledge someone else’s lifestyle but to openly and ignorantly bash someone you know nothing about? It was just upsetting to me.
I struggled with what to tell Ava about this election or how to understand the things happening around her in a way that wouldn’t damage her innocence. Finally I just decided it was best to tell her the minimum, she’s only 7 after all and her teachers did a great job of explaining the government, elections and democracy so I saw no reason to tell a 7 year old about the racial and gender issues that embedded themselves into the 2016 presidential election. What I did want her to know or understand is that we live in a big big world and every single one of us is different, and that’s okay. Diversity is what makes this world and this city so great.
I wanted Ava to understand the ability to be objective and to know how to step back and view a situation out of her own shoes. It’s a hard thing to do especially if you’ve got a vested interest in the topic, but it eliminates ignorant hatefulness. It’s easy to condemn a life we have never lived but it is easier to understand if we remove ourselves. For example, I’ve seen great debate over public assistance and the stigma that comes with it. People don’t seem to understand that not every person who gets food stamps is living off the government unemployed, in fact most are hard working people who just need a little help to make ends meet, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When you retain the ability to be objective you can separate the people who abuse the assistance from those who truly need it.
Not everyone gets the same affordances to start out with in life and the road to getting there for some takes longer. Sometimes people deal with things outside of their control and do the best they can to keep going. Remember, judging someone’s path to a destination only sets us back in our own.
Growing up we’ve all faced our fair share of trying times and moments where we desperately needed guidance but couldn’t find it. For myself that time was transitioning out of high school and into college, while becoming a teen mom. I got accepted into a highly regarded and competitive college and quickly found myself sinking, with nobody willing to throw me a life vest. I visited a handful of college offices, advisement, student life and even the counseling center but all they could offer me was a withdrawal slip from my courses. I ultimately did end up dropping out of college and not returning until my mid-twenties.
When I arrived at CityTech I was amazed, even shocked, at how friendly and accommodating the offices and the faculty were and I knew I had found a home here. So in fall 2015 when a good friend brought me along to the end of semester bash for First Year Learning Communities I knew I wanted to join. The First Year Learning Communities are a set of classes that students all have together and that share an overarching theme. For example, this semester I mentor a community that connects English to Psychology with the shared theme of emotions and navigating the challenges of college life.
The Professors, Jennifer Sears and Barbara Chutroo, are amazing and while I’ve only visited students during the English component it is evident the Professors work together for the benefit of the students. That in itself was huge to me because during my freshman year not one professor had the time or the interest in talking to me let alone helping me navigate college life. In addition to the educational value in this program it also provides a very necessary social value, it helps students form communities and channels of support in one another that they otherwise may not be able to create.
In my first two semester of college I made not one friend, not because I was anti-social or terrified of meeting people but because every class was different, everyone’s schedule was different and nobody had the time. In a program like FYLC you get the opportunity to share courses, assignments and experiences with the same group of people and that takes the stigma and fear of saying hello.
I joined the Peer Mentor program not only because I believe in the program’s mission but because I wish I had this resource when I was a freshman. I wish I had someone to email about the little things or for advice on dealing with a professor or precarious situation. I joined this program because I want to be the person I needed when I was a freshman and I want to make a difference. I thoroughly enjoy working with the FYLC and plan to continue until I graduate. I have learned during my long academic career that there is nothing like a strong network, and that’s what I want to help new students build and be apart of.