Let's Get Real
Racism in college
Racism in college is real. It happens to BIPOC students on an everyday basis. It becomes emotionally exhausting when the environment you are in can be inherently racist, yet, the school promotes itself as a space of “diversity and inclusion”. These are issues that BIPOC students will go through not just in college but in their professional careers. The best thing that you can do is find your support system. Find other BIPOC students who also have these experiences and help each other stay both physically and mentally strong. These are issues that can not be stored inside and ignored. Talk about them with others, let yourself understand the reality of the world we live in and how you can stay strong through its difficult environment. Please look at our mental health section and contact us if you need someone to talk to. We understand what you are going through and would love to support you in any way that we can.
In Kansas City, I am a part of a community where Trump supporters are not often seen. We are the people that Trump loves to hate and talk on. However, when you travel 15 minutes out to the next county, you start to see bumper car stickers, flags, posters, and more. When you begin to see Trump supporters in your own campus it can be very overwhelming. Not only because of what Trump stands for but because of how STRONG and patriotic his fans can be towards believing the racist and ignorance that he projects. We encourage you to find your people, find a support system that is there for you. The best you can do is ignore and continue walking but make sure to find those that feel the same way as you do.
Predominately White Institutions Do Not Care About Their POC Students
Unfortunately, this can be a reality for many BIPOC students. When your family does not provide the financial security that colleges look for to continue building their expensive brand then they do not care for you as much as they care for the white students on campus with their parent’s large check. Often, colleges look at BIPOC students as less than but would still use students of color as diversity images in their advertising and school branding for the perfect “diversity” look. Do not be afraid to be loud and to be your truest best self. You go to college to get what you need, what matters is that you care about your own self and future. Continue to build yourself and find a support system on campus that supports you. You are not the only one that feels like the university is against you, many BIPOC students on campus feel this way. Build a community within your BIPOC peers that gives you the care and support that the college does not give you.
College is a new challenge in your life that feels sometimes as if you were by yourself in the middle of the ocean. It can become very lonely to be in an environment where you are the only student of color. We have all been through this, it is difficult to adjust yourself to an environment when you are now 1 of 3 students of color in your class when maybe in high school the majority of your classmates were BIPOC students. It is very difficult to get accustomed to this change but we recommend finding your own group of people that you can come to at the end of the day who understand you and your struggles of being a minority. It is important to have someone to talk about these everyday issues and to support one another.
Going to College to Please Your Parents
This is a reality that a lot of first-generation students face! You are often pressured by fulfilling your college journey because of how much your parent’s sacrificed to give you a better life. These are issues that students understand but often parents do not. They believe that college is the only option and that there is no way out of it. It can be quite difficult to communicate to your parents that you do not want to attend college, especially if they are very strict about your education. If this is the case, try providing your parent’s with a detailed description of your backup plans if you do not attend college. Show them how you can be successful without having to attend. All your parents want for you is that you have food on the table and a roof over your head. It is important to show them that you can take care of yourself financially without having to go to school.
Financial Aid Offices
If we are being honest, a lot of the financial aid offices in colleges are not helpful. They often do not help students to the full extent that is needed. It can be very stressful when your college’s financial aid office does not understand your own financial struggles, especially if you come from an immigrant household. The laws around immigration within the United States are very complex and they constantly change. Often, financial aid offices are known to not be as helpful to students who come from these unique challenges in their family’s income status. If your financial aid office is not helpful, find a resource on campus that can help you out. Research to see if there are first-generation groups that you talk with. If your university has no first-generation support, please contact a local non-profit around your area that can help you during these challenging times.