In some societies, it has been very difficult to embrace who you truly are. For this project, I attempted to dig deeper in understanding certain ethnicities, and the view on college students. I wanted to see how they see themselves, how they grew up, and what they think about their role in society. To do this, I sat down with two students from Texas A & M – San Antonio and asked them a series of questions.
I started off with a 20-year-old woman, who is Italian and Puerto Rican. She was born in Worcester Massachusetts, so coming to Texas has already been a huge culture shock to her. Since I met her, I realized that she likes to remanence on her childhood and where she comes from. The question I was mainly focused on was “Would you say that coming to college made you embrace your ethnicity more?” She followed with “I would say yes. I think it made me realize that I should embrace my ethnicity more because we don’t live in my hometown. San Antonio is more diverse, especially this college. There are so many different people here, and I feel proud of my ethnicity. When I lived in my hometown, we ate our traditional food and other family activities but now we are somewhere new. We are surrounded by a completely different culture and I embrace it, but I like being able to cook my cultures food and do the traditions that we used to. It just made me embrace being Italian even more. I appreciate it a lot more.”
After the first interview, I had a few thoughts of my own, but I still had to talk to one more person. She was also a 20-year-old woman, who was Dominican and African American. However, she was born here in San Antonio Texas. So right off the bat, it was totally different. I asked her the same question, to hopefully get a different answer or a more elaborate one from the last interview. She responded with saying “Honestly, I love that the college is so diverse. I think it’s really great. But to be completely honest, I don’t think I embrace it any more than I already did. Like, it’s my life. It’s what I grew up around, but I don’t try keeping up with traditional food or anything like that. I am just living in the moment. I feel like school takes so much out of me; I don’t have time to think about what my family used to do. I love my background, but I don’t put it front and center.”
Interviewing these two women really helped me embrace my own ethnicity. In my own personal experience, I really embrace my ethnicity. My hometown is Del Rio, Texas and I am Mexican American and African American. Del Rio is a very Mexican city because we are right on the border of Mexico. Growing up, I was surrounded by Mexican food, music, traditions, etc. Once I came to college in San Antonio, I really started holding my ethnicity closer to me. College is a place where so many different people come into contact with each other. I really noticed that, and it made me proud of my background, especially with all the events that San Antonio has to celebrate Mexican culture. I have gone back home to talk to my family about my background so I could dig deeper into my culture. I think it is very important for everyone to fully accept and be proud of who they are.