Title: Finding Balance
By Abigail Marie George (She/Her/Hers)
Description: I am the first in my immediate family to go to college, it is also my first time away from home. Being the first to go to college within my immediate family, I have a lot of high expectations and responsibility to know that I must do well. It becomes conflicting at times because I wonder "What if I realize school isn't for me and I want to drop out" or the backlash I will face if I am struggling in school with grades and I'm ridiculed for not doing my best or trying hard enough. American culture is different from Caribbean culture, so certain things my parents would not understand or stand for being they were raised differently and raised us the same way they were raised, however, I also grew up within American culture. So our mindsets may clash at times. I clash with myself as well because I have 2 sides which are my American and Caribbean side. I am of course more in touch with my Caribbean side being that's mainly what I know, however, to find the balance is difficult. When among-st certain people, they may say "I talk white", "You sound like an American", "You not a real Caribbean person, who says ...." I never had a balance between the two and I feel as if I have to flip a switch depending on who I am around and I don't want to feel that way. I want to feel like one person around any and everyone I meet. There are other factors that play into a lot of what I've discussed but being a first-generation American within my family comes with both the good and stressful times and I hope one day to find the balance between my two worlds: American and Caribbean.
Title: American Dream or Shimmering Mirage?
By Daniel Jacques (He/Him/His)
Description: A queer scientist who as a first generation American Asian projected borne of a poor white immigrant family found a key to economic and social class mobility. He spent the first half of his life in the Old West of Reno, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and in the deeply rural and isolated portions of Northern California. As a child, he grew up in extreme poverty on the West Coast, often surviving homelessness and foster care and the horrors that can come of that. He found success, confidence, and personal power in his pursuit of education and ultimately in ethical science and social justice. He's taught at R1 research universities and managed laboratories both in the pharmaceutical industry and then academia. Did he find a version of the American dream? Does the American dream manifest for everyone who shows grit or is it a shimmering mirage that dazzles but deflects full potential by both sacrificing and re-imagining one's origin? Was the cultural identity and communities set aside to get ahead worth the gain?
Title: Numb Hopeless Romantic
By Makayla Williams (She/Her/Hers)
Description: Not everything is different now, I might be but I seriously rather not now. I don't know if it is the masks we have to where now hiding my smile that I always shared with everyone. I'm definitely holding in my enthusiasm for life. Unusually, its not my sickness, the coma, or the lost time because of it all that fills the back of my mind. I always loved love. I miss being that, here, at school and for the first try I'm going to have to try for my sake and sanity.
Title: The Journey to Self-Fulfilling Pride: The Liberating Perspective of Disability
By Mira Jaeger (They/Them)
Description: I have multiple different stories that I can share. For example, I have experienced many struggles with my LGBTQ identity and relationship to internal pride over the years (I came out at a young age, was raised in a pseudo-liberal town, and experienced a lot of internal shame that I had to accept, acknowledge, and grow from despite being an example of pride for my peers). In addition, I am neurodivergent, and I slipped through the cracks of diagnosis when I was younger because I was an intelligent, AFAB child who was very well-behaved in school. As a result, I have had a nearly decade-long journey in interpreting and treating my various mental illnesses (Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Anorexia, Body Dysmorphia, and other trauma and dissociative disorders) that eventually culminated with the realization that I am also disabled (ADHD and Tourette's). This recent development has changed the way that I view my brain and cognitive patterns, and has encouraged me to be more forgiving towards myself and my limitations.
Title: The Way He Walks
By Sparrow Potter (She/Her/Hers)
Description: At 2 years old, my brother was born with cerebral palsy, a crippling disability that left our family in shambles. Now at 19, I've learned to navigate the world with him, finding a balance between being his sister and his mother. We both learned how to deal with our mental health in taxing situations that arise everyday, where sometimes I'm the only person that can help him. We also, along with my sister, grew up mixed-race, and all three of us struggle to find identity in our skin color while also participating in American culture.
Title: OCD: An Illness, Not an Adjective: Destigmatizing Mental Illness
By Hannah Ali (She/Her/Hers)
Description: I would like to share my experience of having OCD and the ableism/sanism that I’ve encountered. I consider myself a mental health/disability advocate and am knowledgeable of the history and treatment of people with mental illness in our society. I’m an English major, and a lot of my writing is focused on my lived experience with mental illness.
Title: Don't Let Life Beat You Down
By Alea DeLong ( She/Her/Hers)
Description: I came out of the closet to my family when I got my first girlfriend. This was a very difficult experience and was only made harder by my partner at the time. I would like to share about experiences in dealing with family as well as finding yourself and your wants and needs in a relationship and out of a partner. I have learned through much abuse and hardship and feel I have a lot to share and give to readers.