This past academic year has brought a lot of new experiences and events to our campus. These events have forced us to move out of our comfort zones and have challenging conversations, which has made us appreciate the type of campus community at Concordia. For some of us it has been an opportunity to voice our emotions, whether that be hurt, happiness, or utter confusion.
I have been at Concordia for four years, and during my time here I have fueled changes on certain issues and given up on others. An example of this is hearing people repeat the same ignorant statements over and over again. With time, you realize that it is hopeless to try to educate people when it is not your job. Some of the issues that I have always been passionate about include intentional diversity, inclusion, and equity on campus. While I have been disappointed by a lot of events that have unfolded and how the campus has tried to manage them, I am grateful for the few people who have always put in effort to make sure that change is made no matter what.
One issue that has left me rather hopeless is the curriculum. It is meant to help students learn and understand new things, and I believe that the current curriculum has failed a lot of students. Yes, the internet is available to help you, and books are meant to be read; however, college is a place for learning and growth. Students have spent thousands of dollars to come here, and by the end of their journey I am still baffled at how little they know about the non-white, non-Western world. After four years, I can count how many professors of color have taught me, how many courses I have taken where I am not the only black person, and how many classes I have had where we had conversations about real world and societal issues.
I do not know what the process of a curriculum change entails, but I believe the earlier it gets started, the better. I have had conversations where I wonder what the future will look like, and one thing I always say is that I want to return to Concordia in the next five or so years and listen to the stories of new students. My greatest wish is that my experience and story is one they will not be able to relate to because things have changed and continue to do so. Hopefully the country will be in a better place as well, and the global community will also be doing a better job. Empathy and positive understanding are qualities we all need to start working towards achieving.
Being at Concordia has personally taught me to understand people and their opinions and sometimes even make excuses for their thoughts and ideas. However, I cannot say the same for everyone. I have seen people attack others because they have different opinions. Through this observation I have come to the conclusion that Concordia has a long way to go when it comes to acceptance and inclusion. However, through the good, the bad, and the ugly, Concordia has sure done a good job in helping me realize that the world is not all about people thinking alike. It has taught me how to confront and work through situations as someone who never fit into the “Concordia bubble.”