Any of you who have touched based with me (or read parts of the blog) know that the last several weeks have been particularly stressful for me. I've also tried to preface anything I say by sharing that the current stress I'm under doesn't allow me to paint an "objective" or "fair" view of HSPH. But, the most wonderful thing happened today (and brought a tear to my eye, I'll admit) that reminded me why this experience is worth it.
My mom asked me to call her this evening and said she wanted to share something that one of my younger brothers (who recently entered the teenage years) wrote. For an English assignment, he wrote about his New Year's Experience at the Kalahari Resort (which I blogged and included fun pictures of early this year). But, what really touched me was that his essay wasn't about how amazingly awesome the resort was (and indeed it was); it was about how special the experience was because his sister was there. It was the fact that even though this environment and the pressures of Hah-vahd often make you (i.e., me, students...) feel insignificant and like you don't matter, you and your presence here has an impact on someone.
I don't know if I can, in words, share how touching his words were, but it reminded me that I am a role model. I don't come from a family legacy of Harvard graduates (although I am a third-generation higher education student with extremely intelligent parents and grandparents), and I don't come from a wealthy family where this is considered "the norm." I am proudly a racial/ethnic minority and an individual from a small Midwestern community where so many people never choose or have the opportunity to leave, and I am so fortunate to have made it to where I am. I sometimes feel that systems like here at Harvard that were designed on the "Old Boys Club" mentality aren't designed for me to succeed and that they don't want me to succeed. (Ah-ha! moment: these are my perceptions of the roots of my challenges here). But the words of my brother reminded me that I have to - and I will - succeed and thrive because my success not only impacts me; it impacts so many others who look up to me.
I guess that sometimes you just need a miracle to jolt you, and I think I just got mine. I promise (Girl Scout's honor) to make an effort to be more positive over the next 6 weeks of school, and to do everything in my power to succeed. And I hope that the lessons I've learned from my time here, and hopefully the lives I've impacted, will all feed into making me a better role model and future leader of tomorrow!
Stay tuned for more posts in a couple of weeks...