Here at Brown, I have truly felt support from my fellow RAs and the RDs that are here for the Pre-College program. They don’t judge me based on my opinion, they are always extremely supportive and what is upsetting is I don’t remember ever genuinely getting this support from my home institution.
I try to serve as a positive example of the leaders that my institution can produce but at the same time, I am starting to realize that most of the people that were supposed to be part of my support system are not really there to support me at all.
There have been people that have told me that I am not capable of achieving my goals of becoming a student affairs professional. Because of some events that occurred during a time in my life where I was really struggling to find myself, it has caused some people to lose faith in my abilities to even go into the field of student affairs. There have been people that have straight up told me “I don’t think you can handle a career in this field”.
For a long time now, this has really held me back from being confident in my abilities to become a future graduate student. Even though I have held several leadership positions on campus and I am currently doing an internship at an Ivy League institution, those words still bother me and hurts me to my soul. I think many of the students that I have been able to support through my leadership really believe in me and I believe that is how I have been able to hold several positions, but not the professional staff. Deep down, I feel like they really don’t think I can do anything right. I feel that they just put up with me because the students picked me not them.
I don’t think I will truly have closure on this until I have walked across the stage and received my degree. I am trying my best to learn from my past experiences and use them to be a better Mike Harris in the long run, but not having any support from the professionals at my institution really make it difficult to keep pushing on.
I just know at the end of the day, I am glad that I have the support that I do have from others that have moved on and a handful of graduate students, a few faculty advisors and professors at my institution that support me. I can’t thank them enough for their help and guidance.