Discovering the confidence to define your future
Being a Husker means that I get the opportunity to begin a legacy. My grandma, dad and my mom all went to different universities other than Nebraska, even though they’re from Omaha. I am the first in my immediate family to come to Nebraska. So coming here, I was excited because I’m the first in my family—it gives me the opportunity to create an impact for my family.
Being a person of color, trying to find a university that I would be comfortable and confident at was very difficult. It’s important that I am creating an impact that’s lasting. I value being a Husker—it has given me a lot of opportunities to become more comfortable and confident in myself, and it’s allowed me to meet different kinds of people.
When I started looking at colleges, I wanted to go to a school with more people of color. But after looking into the programs at Nebraska, I took the time to talk to other students. I was also able to connect with faculty and receive the Teacher Scholars Academy (TSA) scholarship. I decided Nebraska was a place that I wanted to call home for the next four years; there was so much more offered at Nebraska than I thought.
It was a scary transition, especially feeling like I was sometimes out of place, but I realized every environment is a fit for me; you create the space and you welcome yourself. I definitely think that students who are looking for colleges have many ways to either find their place or create a place that they feel comfortable in. At Nebraska, there are so many people that are here to help support and lead you in the right direction, even though there will be times where you may feel uncertain.
Since I came to Nebraska, I’ve found a few organizations that I have enjoyed. I've gotten to know different people through events. I came to Nebraska as part of the Teacher Scholars Academy cohort. That helped me because I came in with 39 other future teachers who I had been able to meet and mingle with before actually moving to campus. We lived on Abel North on the sixth floor. It gave me an automatic group of friends.
Then I kind of ventured out and looked at other things at the university that I was interested in. I became an at-large senator for the Association of Students, which is the student government. I was like the only first-year, so I was around so many upperclassmen and heard how Nebraska has impacted them and the changes that they want to make and the things that they want to see. I felt like as a first-year, hearing these things was important for me because these were things that I could be on the lookout for in the next three years and thinking of different. After my term, I was elected as the College of Education and Human Sciences senator, but then I became a resident assistant in Abel South and I had to step down from senator because of conflicting times and commitments.
As a resident assistant, I was able to meet and have an impact on students. Being part of the Husker community has given me the opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds, life experiences and ethnicities. It's a life experience that I value, and it's teaching me to be prepared to go out into the real world; these skills that I'm gaining now at a young age are going to help me advance into my career and my life as I move out of college.
When I got to college, one of my goals was to get involved. I kind of felt out of place. I knew I had leadership skills, and I knew what I was capable of, but sometimes it can be very intimidating to be around people who have been in leadership roles since they were in high school. Now, I can definitely notice the change in myself between high school and college and how more willing I am to just be open to speak. I'm usually never afraid to say how I feel or what I think about something.
Being part of the Husker community means that I am surrounded by people who are going to make a long-term impact in the world. It makes me realize that I'm part of like a lifelong thing; this is not something that just ends in four years. This is an impact that goes beyond just being in Lincoln and being at Nebraska.
The best piece of advice I would give high school students that are looking for the right college or university is that the stories of those around you do not define your story. I think when I was looking at colleges, I found myself comparing a lot to what other people around me were doing, what colleges they were going to and what they were doing after college. Now that I reflect on that, I have realized that as a senior or as a high school student, you have to do what you feel is right.
You seek help and advice from others around you, but you have to be open-minded and willing to go places and join groups and events that you probably would not have thought of before. If I had not opened my mind and thought about the experience that I could gain from Nebraska, I probably would not be here right now.
You are writing your life story. If you continue to follow and compare yourself to what others are doing around you, you're going to set your own self up for failure. Don't let anyone else be the author of your story. Look into your options and what is right for you, even if you're the only one that's going to be doing it.