A couple blogs ago, I mentioned that identities shape who you are and how it can affect you. My internship at The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good was super insightful and informative. From coordination of logistics to research, I was able to improve on my skills in communication, technology, information, and in analysis & research. I was able to help graduate student staff with research pertaining to marginalized communities and their access to higher education. While there, I also discovered something important about myself. I learned that I loved helping people with my similar backgrounds and that I would do anything to see more representation of my community going to college. A long-term goal of mine is to give back to my humble community whom guided me to become successful through higher education. I want to see hope in these families when I’m able to advocate and help them through retention and admission guidance for their children. I would never want to see them struggle like I did to get to where I am, especially when guidance can be available to them. I’m hoping to become successful and content enough with my occupation that I will be able to inspire and provide them with success stories.
However, even after such a great experience at The Forum, I would like to say that I don’t like working with research pertaining to my identity. It is not because the issue doesn’t matter, because it absolutely does. I just don’t like being surrounded with stereotypical or assumed portrayals of who I am in this research. I don’t like to see myself being portrayed in an article as an experiment. I know that if I work with my identities in the future, the ongoing issues will just constantly swallow me and ruin my day. I think facing everyday with these identities is enough and don’t see myself in social science research. Although having the experience of research in this particular topic was fascinating, I do not think I will be happy in this field. Nevertheless, I still found articles, lit reviews, and the research process to be very informative and would probably love to do research in another field.
I am super grateful that I was able to experience this internship opportunity at The Forum. I made many connections with students, staff, and faculty and was able to take away useful advice from them. As an undecided student, the experiences and opportunities I get will help me figure out what I want to do career-wise. Even if that is finding out what I do and don’t like to do. Overall, I am really glad I stayed in Ann Arbor for the summer and was able to meet wonderful people at a wonderful place.