I got to spend this past weekend at (surprise…) the Joyce Contemplative Center again! This time I attended the first ever Bishop Healy Committe Young Alumni and Students of Color conference. During our time there we had time to bond, share our experiences as people of color at Holy Cross and reflect on our future as we transition from college into the “real” world.
Up until this point I never realized how important and necessary it is for students to have this kind of space away from campus. We have affinity groups like BSU, LASO, etc. where we often have discussions but these spaces are not POC exclusive, and sometimes that can influence the way we filter ourselves or affect our comfort discussing our personal stories in concern that they will be exploited when expressing our challenges as POC at Holy Cross.
The bonding experience that organically flourished from this space was so special, because we don’t get a Holy Cross space to ourselves like this after college starts. Before college, we have Odyssey and Passport, but even then the intention is not to soley provide space for us to talk about our experiences with marginalized backgrounds, and not everyone gets the chance to attend. While at the retreat I felt a sort of deja-vu to my experience at Odyssey. I felt like the alumni were helpful mentors by giving us feedback and advice about what its like to transition from College to the world (as opposed to high school to college), all while simulatenously creating personal bonds with us. This happened both formally and informally, during ice breakers when we got to know eachother and formally at the alumni panel, designated as a resource for current students looking into the the endless possibilities of the future as POC grads from HC.
My biggest takeaway from the retreat, which was a common sentiment among participants, is to enjoy every moment that I have building relationships and bonding with others. Too often as students we get caught up with all the work that we have that we forget that we are living with REAL people, and sacrifice valuable time with others to stay up all night doing work. Looking back at college in a few years, I know that I definetly won‘t remember limits and derivatives from Calc I, but I will remember the friends I made, and the most special moments I spent with those that made an impact on me during my undergrad time, as well as the activities I participated in that shaped me into the person I am today.
Shoutout to everyone that made this retreat possible; especially the alumni. Melisa Alves ’06, Amina Gomez ’16, Suji Yi ’17.