Survive and Thrive
“Congratulations! It is with great pleasure that I offer you admission to the Stanford University Class of 2019.”
Reading this line was possibly the most affirming and validating moment of my 17 year old life thus far. I remember sobbing tears of joy and disbelief the second I finished reading my acceptance letter, that my Pa came down from his nap, worried that something terrible had happened. Ma was thrilled. She started crying and wooing about my acceptance, and during this, I took a moment to hug both of my parents to thank them of what they had done, as there would be no access to higher education had my parents not worked full-time jobs to support us economically and provided me so much emotional and cultural guidance, they were carrying on my ancestors hope for a brighter future for their family.
“Jerry House, yeah this is it.”
I was going to spend the next three weeks at the Leland Scholars Program (LSP), a transition program for FLI students into the Stanford culture. I was anxious about the friends I would make, the memories I would create and the classes I would take. As a rising junior and halfway through my Stanford experience, I can confidently say that doing LSP was one of the best decisions I’ve made since coming to Stanford. It is a program rooted in the idea that creating collective and interdependent spaces makes us stronger and more resilient. Through LSP, I was not only given the resources to survive and thrive at a place like Stanford, but I was also able to cultivate a mindset founded on three main truths:
First, asking for help is not only ok, but it is necessary to build interdependence with each other. Second, take advantage of these opportunities while also making sure to use this new privilege for the communities you care about.And third, steal fire. Junot Diaz, the eminent Dominican American writer and professor, came to Stanford to talk about this topic and his single argument is that as minority students at Stanford we need to “steal fire.” We are here to survive this place so we can distribute its resources to our communities in the hopes of a more just and equitable world.
The FLI community is here. We are prideful. We are resilient. We are strong. We are soft. We are humble. We are confident. We are good. We are bad. We belong. We feel impostor syndrome. We define ourselves from where we come from. We are sometimes ashamed of where we come from. We are more than just ourselves. We are our ancestors. We are our parents who were never able to attend college. We are our grandparents who immigrated for a better childhood. We are more than the systems that oppress us. We are in solidarity with other folks who live on the margins. We don’t “pull ourselves from the bootstraps”. We are our community. We are here.
Symbolic Systems | Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
Class of 2019