For me, the 1st of February through the 31st of March is all about celebrating and sharing my history as a black woman. tracing back plenty of years, my roommate and I will decorate our residence hall door with pictures of influential women throughout American history. Even though I could go on and on about women’s history and black history, I’m not writing this to give a history lesson. I’m writing to share my experiences as a black woman at Indiana University and how I take advantage of the services and organizations available to women like me on campus. These services provide a rich experience in finding women who are like me or even different from me.
Being a black student at a university where less than 5% of the student body is black, it’s easy to feel discouraged, out of place, or feel like no one will understand. That's how I felt my freshman year at IU. It was difficult to find people that related to my experiences and understand my culture, which is very important to me. I’m originally from Florida, so my freshman year was filled with loneliness and a lack of friends. Then things changed when I attended my first IU Student Involvement Fair. I discovered a plethora of organizations targeting my characteristics and interests, such as the National Association of Black Journalists organization and Women of Color Leadership Institute. I found that women in these organizations not only looked like me but had the same interests as me and related to me as a woman. Women who were different than me, whether it was color of our skin, our culture, or views on the world, also attended.
That was an interesting adventure; to learn and discover women who look like me, but who have different thoughts and views on different issues relating to our cultures. I’ve gained so much knowledge about different African cultures, Asian cultures, and Indian cultures. Once I made that connection with another black woman, they led me to finding other women and the cycle continued. Finding these women has impacted me by increasing my self-esteem, increasing my knowledge of different cultures, increasing my academic success in my major, and in courses outside of my major, as well. I never thought that meeting all of these women in my college career would lead to extensive knowledge and be the most refreshing part of my experience at IU so far!
There are plenty of organizations targeted to women on finding other women who share similar interests (or even ones who don't). Go out and meet women of different backgrounds, cultures, and race and see how powerful we are. See how we are affecting the history now and making positive change at IU. Go take a course on women’s history and learn about how women have shaped America and the world. I’ve listed below some links to organizations for women to find other women in areas of interests.
Most organizations can be found here.
HIST-A 261 Modern American Women’s History
HIST-A 302 Revolutionary America
HIST-B 260 Women, Men, and Society in Modern Europe
HIST-J 450 Seminar in Women’s History
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