this thing called life - the poor poc university experience
October 22, 2013
In many ways, this is a love letter to a friend who is struggling right now with university and school and work and life and love.
People rarely/never tell us as kids that university is hard. More importantly, they really don”t tell us that it is really for middle class+ white people1. With no disabilities or histories of trauma.
To succeed at university, it is best that you have a family that can support you. I don”t only mean money, although that is a massive help. I mean via emotional support and the general security that, if you should fail, it won”t be catastrophic.
Because when you are a poor poc and you are alone, any failure can lead to catastrophy. And I don”t mean in the boo-hoo life is so hard way (life for us was already hard). I mean in the “now you”re homeless but need to try and keep your two jobs and stay in school because you don”t know what else to do”2. Ever since I was kicked out of the house, for the past 13 years, I feel like I”ve been walking on a tightrope with no net. I”ve been homeless twice (for thankfully really short periods of time).
When I was young… I also got good grades. In part because I was too afraid of my dad to fail and quickly learned how to compensate for my cognitive deficits. But. As things got harder in university. And I attempted to learn how to social (having ‘friends” for the first time in my life). And learning how to date. I did have a total mental breakdown. I”m not sure I”ve ever really recovered from that experience. Not really. I should have been hospitalized… but wasn”t because, tbh, no one in my life cared enough at that point to either notice how badly i was struggling, but also because it probably would have been catastrophic too. And i had to keep going.
Trying to do all of this: school, work, friends, romance — at the same time is so fucking hard. And I know that I couldn”t do it (I pretty much gave up friends and romance to survive). I don”t feel like a failure. I”m not sure if I feel ‘successful”. I am incredibly glad to still be alive.
I guess all I”m really trying to say is that: don”t be too hard on yourself if you can”t do it. I couldn”t (and I”m fairly certain I hurt myself a lot in the process of trying). What this means for you… well, only you can know.
You are talented, smart, and awesome enough to succeed, live, and have a life filled with the joys you want, whatever they are. Even more important, you deserve and are worthy of all of these things.