A Wild Tongue
I saw my older sister succeed with her Chemistry degree and thought that was the path I would be following. This was the path our parents wanted for us. They came to the United States with us so that we could have more educational opportunities. They could see their success vicariously through us.
I give advice to first-years now that I wish I had been able to give to myself two years ago. I see them getting overworked and remember myself in their same spots when I felt empty as I spread myself so thin I didn’t have enough time for myself. Harvard promotes this culture as students get involved in multiple things and the pressure often falls on multiply-disadvantaged students as we feel responsible to take on all of the issues.
When I was in another room later with opinions that opposed mine, I pulled together enough energy to recount previous encounters with police. I thought back to the Republican National Convention, when I was part of a group of immigrant rights protesters putting together a ‘Wall off Trump’. Members linked their arms to create a wall of unity. I remember the line of police facing us in our vulnerable states as we risked arrest. I remember how the police faced us, prepared to take action.
My original idea for this article was to have it be in two pieces. One was meant to address the struggle with mental health of feeling like your life is just about survival, like you’re constantly falling and getting yourself back up. I wanted to follow this with an article on survivor’s guilt when survival feels like a huge accomplishment at school, knowing people are struggling back home with less access to resources. I decided, instead, to combine them, as I’ve noticed how survivor’s guilt has kept me solely in survival mode.
These actions and thoughts have filled my mind and my schedule for the majority of my time at Harvard. Our days are split up into our mornings, where we schedule in our classes, and afternoons and nights, where we schedule in our extracurriculars. Board after board, I found myself in these scenes that many students find themselves in across campus. The work must get done. The events must get planned.