Personal Reflection: The Framework Of Intersectionality In Higher Education

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Ever since I was young, I knew higher education was my destiny. My academics and drive to get into a good college consumed my life and being. However, once I began my undergraduate degree, I did not feel supported or happy in my environment. Due to my rough start in higher education, I vowed to help other students have a better college experience than myself. In joining the field of higher education, I aspire to learn how to support students in their college journey by using theories and frameworks. However, in being able to help others, I have also learned that I need to reflect on my own self-identity and belonging in this world. Throughout this essay, I will explore different frameworks we discussed in class, which I see useful to…show more content…
This framework will allow me to better understand “the complexity of students’ experiences with power, privilege, and oppression” (Patton, Renn, Guido, & Quaye, 2016, p. 31). During my undergraduate years at Loyola, I worked in the office of First and Second Year Advising as a Peer Advisor in the University 101 classroom. I taught a Bridge to Loyola course in which many of my students were first-generation students of color. Looking back on my experience, I now realize how I could have used the framework of intersectionality, or Critical Race Theory (CRT), in order to give these students a more meaningful classroom experience. CRT acknowledges that those in student development must “consider their own race and its intersections with other social identities […] as well as the social identities of research participants” (Patton et al., 2016, p. 28). When I taught the course, I simply assumed my knowledge sets were their knowledge sets. My backgrounds were their backgrounds. However, I have come to learn one’s identities influence their lived experiences and beliefs about the world. As an educator, I cannot think of students’ “identity dimension[s] exist[ing] independently and thus [being] understood singularly” (Torres et al., 2009, p. 586). By acknowledging my own identities, and the integrative identities held by others, I hope to provide a more meaningful and…show more content…
As a first-year student at Loyola, I had a very difficult transition; multiple times I discussed with my mom the possibility of transferring schools. However, as time passed I became more involved in clubs, made friends, studied abroad, and got involved with the history department. Although I gained an unforgettable undergraduate experience, my transition was difficult. One of the main reasons I became a Peer Advisor was to help students have a better first-year transition than myself. Within transition theory, there are four major aspects, or “S’s,” which influence an individual’s transition: situation, self, support, and strategies (Patton et al., 2016). While there are four factors, not all students experience transitional problems in each aspect; “the individual’s effectiveness in coping with transition depends on the resources in these four areas” (Patton et al., 2016, p. 38). Thus, as a student affairs professional, I will be able to use the four “S’s” to assess where a student may be struggling in their transition process. Personally, I struggled with the support aspect while at Loyola; yet, once I found mentors and connections, my transition was easier. In the future, I hope to be able to provide the “support” aspect to many students in their own transition

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