Empowered Communities Empower Individuals
In the same way that it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a strong community to inspire an adult. I was a part of many clubs and affinities while at Hamilton. Track and Field, Rugby, BLSU, Vibes, Written and Spoken, and The Spectator are some of the organizations that positively shaped my college experience. All of these communities impacted me in ways that I carry into my personal and professional life. I learned patience and resilience. I learned to speak up and use my voice for creativity, goodness, and empowerment. I learned the necessary tools required to advocate for what I believe in and to articulate my complicated self to the world. One of the clubs that pushed me toward academic and professional success is BLSU and its collaborative events. I was encouraged by many BLSU members who cared about my writing and who instilled the confidence in me to share the deepest parts of myself. Although I couldn’t attend meetings because of athletic conflicts, I still felt supported, appreciated, and inspired to participate in their talent shows, poetry readings, and other events.
How do you think the culture and people within clubs/affinities affected you at Hamilton within your education?
The culture and people within clubs/affinities emboldened me to bring my authentic self into the classroom. Before I joined the aforementioned organizations, I kept to myself. I was quiet, reserved, and observant. I did not participate in the classroom until I joined communities that made me feel like I had a voice worth sharing. I spoke freely in class. I articulated my thoughts with grace. I asked good questions. I showed my fellow classmates the same version of myself that I shared easily with the clubs/ affinities I joined.
Do you believe clubs/affinities are a place where you can find leisure and drive that carry into other facets of your life?
Clubs and affinities are a wonderful place to find both leisure and drive. Everything in life is about balance. I enjoyed communities that gave me the freedom to kick back and shed academic pressure while also giving me the confidence, encouragement, and strength to return to the academic scene stronger than before. Clubs and affinities taught me the importance of self-care and making one’s well-being/welfare a part of their ambitious goals and expectations of themselves.
What are your sentiments to the scene communities of interest and how it transpires at Hamilton?
It is important to find where you belong, especially when belonging and being your authentic self is a revolutionary act. As a Black woman, I often struggled at the predominantly white institution. However, finding self places where I could be my full self, let my hair down, and feel accepted transformed my thinking and made me better prepared to make formative connections. I thrived at Hamilton as a direct result of the communities and people who cared for me.