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So much alike

Sasha De La Cruz's picture

I had a hard time starting this reflection because I feel as though my participation/engagement constantly fluctuated throughout the semester, the whole year really, but definitely more this semester. I think that for the most part I took a lot of steps back this semester, in terms of speaking less and listening more; I found myself not wanting to take ‘leadership roles’ as much as I would have any other time. At times I felt as though I wasn’t putting in as much effort or working as hard as I should have, and it really bothers(ed) me because this is my favorite class of the week and is the one thing I look forward to every week. I think I missed about two of the prep-meetings. The weeks I would miss the meetings, I would feel a little lost that Friday. We put so much thought into every activity, not being there to plan for it makes me nervous because I am not sure which “direction” we aimed to take the conversations; because of this, not being 100% prepared did not scare me that much. Overall, this was a very difficult semester for me; between my mother being injured and my friend going to jail (and all of the in-between), I had way too much going on towards the end of the semester and it was hard for me to focus on my life on campus.


            The immense amount of trust that I have in this group is ridiculous! I am usually skeptical about other people and their thoughts, opinions, beliefs when working/speaking of underserved populations, for lack of a better term. But I believe we have all grown so much into this work that we all have similar “goals” in mind for this group … maybe. I say goalsbecause I don’t think we have set goals for this group, which is such an ambiguous concept for me. I love just going with the flow, because it provides so much room for anything to happen … literally. The challenge with this is that not having goals made it hard for us to measure “progress”. I think this is one of the reasons why the question about how much writing we should be doing kept lingering. After we kept bringing up the question about writing, or lack thereof, I began to realize that this might be the cause of the problem.


            People’s first question to me when I tell them about this work is, “is this for a class?” I really hate answering yes to this question because I am afraid of giving the impression that I do this for the class credit, so I always follow my yes with “but it started voluntarily…” The fact that I enjoyed this class so much this semester made me realize that this is truly something that I would love to invest my time in after I leave college. I have always had interest in working with “underserved populations”, again for lack of a better term, main reason why I wanted to become a teacher at an inner city high school. Working in the prison system opened my eyes to the great joy and self-fulfillment that comes from working with this population regardless of the age. This work encouraged me to apply to the Women’s Medical Fund, an organization that works directly with low-income women who seek to terminate pregnancy. Although it is very challenging to do this work because, as always, resources are limited, it is extremely fulfilling to help the women when I am able to give them some funds for their procedures.


            As the semester progressed, I found myself wanting to become closer to the woman, so I began being “more of myself”, or at least attempted to do so. After the instance where the woman were asking me to share/explain more about a specific chapter if my life (the activity we did), I began to have this in mind more often ... actually every single time we went in after that. After giving it a lot of thinking, I decided that I would just “go with the flow” for this. Sometimes I wonder why I ponder on this issue so much, but then always remember that this is how I grew up. Opening up and exposing yourself is not really something that happens back home, unless it is a really close friend. People usually try to be really subtle about themselves and what they do. I think this is one of the reasons why I always debate whether or not I should “expose” myself to these women, who I really don’t know. Another reason why I tried to refrain from telling too much, is that it always reminded me of how similar these women and I really are and it freaked me out a little. A lot of the times I started doing the writings, but stopped midway because I was not sure how “appropriate” it would be; going back to not knowing how much to expose of myself, but at the same time, not knowing what you (Anne and Jody) would feel comfortable knowing J.


            This semester really helped me open up more and connect more with the women. I definitely want to continue being apart of this group. I think we as a whole have grown so much and so close that you became a subculture for me on campus. You have all become my go-to people. I am beyond happy and grateful that I was able to become so close to you all, especially through such means. Like Sara mentioned in her piece, I think we (Sara, Hayley and I) come from such different spheres on campus, and it is amazing and so warming that we were able to create such bonds where I can come to any of you to speak about anything. I really look forward to continuing this work with you all and to see how much more we can grown together!