Student Reconnects With Cultural Identity at Chapman

As a little girl, my family always made sure to raise us in our Mexican culture; I was proud to have a culture to identify with and celebrate. Once I started to grow up and begin my academic adventure, the role my culture had in my life started to shift.

In elementary school, I went to a school where the demographics were predominantly white, and there was nowhere for me to bring my culture or express everything I had been taught. I lost touch with who I was and who I wanted to be. The loss of culture through my academic life carried on until I arrived at Chapman.

I have lived my life in two separate ways. One was my personal life and the other was my academic life. In my personal life, I have always participated in Mexican traditions and loved to hear my grandparents’ stories about their lives in Mexico. I remember spending many summer days with my grandparents at their home and wanting to learn more about my culture. While I was in school, I never had people or a community that understood the other half of me. My academic life consisted of me trying to prove myself through my academic successes. I still push myself to achieve every academic goal I can, but now I can succeed for myself.

When I arrived at Chapman, I had no idea of the types of people and community I would come to find. The transition from high school to college can be a difficult one in itself, but when you do not have anyone to help you navigate the transition, it becomes that much harder. The beginning of my college journey was rough, but then I found everything I had been missing. Chapman brought my two lives together and made it simple to live one life. When I went searching for people to click with and make memories with, I found them easily. The Latinx Club and Cross-Cultural Center showed me how there was room to have my culture embraced in my academic life as well. I finally got my cultural identity back.

Chapman embraces and encourages diversity throughout the campus and in the classroom. Having diversity on campus has helped so many students feel like they belong and showed them how Chapman can be a home away from home.

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