Imagine finding yourself. Now, when I say “finding yourself,” that is not “finding” in the sense of finding yourself in a place or finding yourself doing an action, or something of that nature, but finding yourself, meaning catching a glimpse of the greatness you are destined to one day behold. Few people are given the privilege of coming into contact with their purpose during their lifetimes, especially at a young age. I, however, can attest to being one of the more fortunate ones.
During this year’s Cultural Immersion Trip hosted by Clayton State’s Campus Life, students had the opportunity to venture to Washington, D.C. and explore their culture through the eyes of someone who knew that there was so much more to themselves than what they had previously been taught. Visits to Howard University, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture were all key parts in making the trip as remarkable and unforgettable as it truly was, and still is.
On this trip, I was introduced to my deepest fear that I was not aware that I possessed, my fear of failure. It had not dawned on me how apprehensive I was to partake in certain opportunities granted to me, all due to my fear of not succeeding. Being an African American female, it is no secret that the road to success for me may be a lot more tiresome than for my white female counterparts. I often find myself doubting what I am capable of before I even have my foot in the door good enough. However, after this trip, the sense of self that I have gained is one feeling that I know I will never be able to shake.
One particular exhibit that spoke to me was the level of the African American Museum that I like to refer to as the “Black Excellence” Floor. On this level of the exhibit, wall-to-wall, was nothing but accomplishments from African Americans over the years. Generations of the achievements of my people that textbooks neglected to share with students for years, and here I was standing face to face with nothing but the truth. The sense of pride this exhibit gave me brought a tear to my eye. Honestly, I felt like a proud parent. To see first-hand accounts of the brutal mistreatment of my ancestors was one thing, but to turn around and see how without them, there would be no America is an entirely different thing. For me, this trip served as the little nudge I need to get myself going in the right direction. Because of them, I can, and because of them, I will.

 

Author: Nahtyka Jolly

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