As part of the Division of Student Affairs’ initiative for Diversity and Inclusion, we at I Am Rutgers have started the #RUIDProject to highlight the many diverse identities, experiences, and reflections of the Rutgers student body. Students featured in this project share how they choose to identify themselves and how Rutgers either helps them express their identity or has helped shape their identity. If you would like to be featured in this project, share a picture of yourself and how you choose to identify using the hashtag #RUIDProject on Instagram or contact us via email.
I always have a hard time accurately conveying my thoughts. I must have begun, deleted and restarted this very piece about 15 times, unsure of where to go or what to say.
As graduation barrels toward me, I feel I am being stretched like taffy. The thought of being shoved into the real world makes me hold on to undergrad with increasing fervor. Currently I am a resident assistant, the secretary of the West Indian Student Organization, a community service officer, as well as a member of Collegiate 100, Verbal Mayhem, puBLACations, and I am taking 16 credits. In the past I also danced for Caribbean Fusion, Rutgers Performing Dance Company, Dancers of Liberated Praise and I frequented SCREAM Theatre. My friends who know everything I do are often in awe. They wonder how I can be so involved while double majoring and minoring. At times, it sounds as if they admire me.
Truthfully, I find myself drowning every day. If I’m not rushing to meet a deadline, I am running to a meeting or home to be on duty. But I do enjoy everything I do – after all, I signed myself up for it all. These four years have truly been the best years of my life, so far. I’ve been involved in and exposed to much more than I likely would ever have been had I not chosen to go to Rutgers. Because of this university, I found myself. I’ve unearthed my likes, dislikes, passions, and everything in between. I’ve more than blossomed – I’ve thrived. The doormat of a person I was prior to college still exists within me. However, my outward persona, coyly named “McQueen”, has been kicking serious butt these past few years. Five years ago I wouldn’t think I would have tried out for The Vagina Monologues, let alone be in it twice. I surely wouldn’t have been confident enough to dance in DancePlus with trained BFA dance majors. I definitely would not have participated in Stroll Like An Alpha with hundreds of known and unknown people watching my every step. I say all this to show that even those who come off well rounded and put together can be harboring deep seated self consciousness. From the outside looking in, I am McQueen – a chill badass, ready to take on the world. But internally, I’m scared. Disoriented. Literally stumbling through life. For just like Buzz Lightyear, I once thought I had it all figured out. Luckily friends, education and life experience taught us both that flying is really just finding a fancy way to fall and land perfectly in our rightful spots.
Photography by Bhavna Bhatia