Name: Simonai Santiago ’23
Hometown: Lawrence, MA
Area of Studies: (Major) Health Studies, (Minor Concentration) Africana Studies and Pre-Health Track
Why She Chose Holy Cross: In many ways, Holy Cross chose me. For reasons people mostly choose Holy Cross, I appreciated the small class size, intimate professor relationships, and the eclectic community only specific to Holy Cross. For reasons not so apparent, Holy Cross chose me because it challenges me to be out of my comfort zone every day: I’m a first-generation, minority college student attending a PWI as an afro-latina initially from a low-income community — the culture shock is real. All this to say, I feel like Holy Cross’s environment breeds champions (especially if you come from a disadvantaged background) because whether it’s combatting racism, oppression, depression, etc. you can stand firm in that your accomplishments are truly yours and you end up creating this wonderful network of people at Holy Cross that are in your corner forever.
Activities: Weiss Summer Research Program, Summer Orientation Leader, First-year Advancement Program (FRAP), Study Abroad Panama, Washington D.C. Semester Away Program, Student Health Awareness Peer Educators (SHAPE), Student Health Ambassador, and Odyssey Mentor Leader.
What She’s Most Looking Forward To: I’m most looking forward to creating more spaces on campus for genuine dialogue, the intersectionality of cultures, and introspective (reflective) thought. I’m looking forward to attempting to connect to the students at Holy Cross that feel lost, especially students of color. I want them to know they need to take up more space, use their voice way more, and feel more comfortable when they walk the halls of this campus.
Why She’s Blogging: I’m blogging for every person of color who has felt small in a PWI, for every confused college student who suffers from imposter syndrome and to give a voice to those that feel as though they don’t have it all together. I blog to ground myself and those that read these words; I blog to create a conversation around unfairly and disproportionately disadvantaged communities to create a solution for people who don’t have the resources and privilege of creating the solutions they need. I blog because Holy Cross and America need to hear more from people that look like me and overcame similar obstacles that I have, to ensure them that they are enough and always have been.
Read Simonai’s blog.
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