I am who I am because of others

Meeting with McNair Scholars at Eastern Michigan University

I am who I am because of others

I had an opportunity to meet with some junior and senior undergrad students from the McNair Scholars program at Eastern Michigan University last night.

Although I was there to talk with them about another program in the area of public health, the meeting was mutually rewarding in ways that you can’t easily quantify, and it reaffirmed my beliefs in reciprocity in relationships and that we are all both teachers and learners.

Like many of the students I met today, I was also a first generation student of color who did not have an example to look to when it came to figuring out how to navigate the university environment not just academically, but socially as well.

While I was not a McNair Scholar when I was in school, having the opportunity to be involved in similar programs as a youngster gave me exposure and introduced me to the reality of educational opportunities at a time when I thought that college was beyond my reach.

Those programs, those experiences, and those people played a great role in my being able to do much of the work I do today.

For me, it is truly fulfilling to be able to be used to reach out and establish relationships with students coming along now, as others have reached out to me.

After our talk, I was invited to come back to have future sessions with the students to engage in dialogue about things that are important to them and their academic, social and emotional success in and out of the classroom.

I love days like these.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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