14 thoughts on “Orientation Leaders

  1. As a twenty-first century born and raised American, language, especially English, has always come easily to me. I was taught to speak English as a child and, until I reached high school, I was only addressed in English. I remember stepping into high school with my new schedule selected and finished; unbeknownst to me at the time, this would be my first experience with my new found language of performance, distinctively with the language of music. Music, like many other passions, has a language of its own, incomparable to any others. Every rhythm contains notes that have specific pitches, all put together to create a final piece to create emotion. Reminiscing the first day I stepped onto the dark, wide stage of my new high school’s theater, it was bigger than any stage I had seen before. Hearing the long list of performances that happen during the academic year put me in a state of excitement; it was much different than middle and elementary school. Students were actually involved and this was a pleasant surprise to me. I can recall specifically walking into my band class every morning with pure happiness. The vibe the room gave off was instinctively positive to my nature. Throughout the years, as I grew as a person, my knowledge and passion grew towards music the most. Music started to become easier for me, as if it was second nature. Its language was no longer foreign to me. Music has been a therapy and a motivation for me throughout my life and its language will forever be a part of my identity. I believe in identity, I believe in the power of language, I believe in the impact of music.


  2. Faith

    When I was a sophomore in high school I didn’t realize how much my life could change in a year. Around spring vacation I found out that a cyst had been twisting itself around my right ovary and it had been there for a very long time considering the doctors had said it was the size of a grapefruit. Ultimately, because of the severe damage done by the benign cyst, my ovary died therefore I needed surgery. I never had symptoms or any pain in that area that indicated that there was something wrong so I never complained about it when I had doctor appointments but the problem was caught before it further progressed. After surgery it took almost a week to be able to walk again because the incisions were still new. Later on in the school year I found out that I would have to move to New Hampshire because of a job offer my mom had received. The news was heartbreaking because I was leaving everything I loved, my home, friends, school and some family. The fear of change didn’t help because I was accustomed to my life in one place. Knowing I would be walking different hallways and seeing new people wasn’t ever part of my plan. Although I struggled in a new high school, in the end it made me realize how important it is to go through change and have faith that I could get through it. At the end of that school year I convinced my parents to let me live back in Massachusetts with my grandparents to finish senior year there. When commencement came, I truly discovered how having faith to keep going on even when life throws you somewhere you didn’t plan to be was valuable.


  3. I have an old friend who comes and goes. There was a time when he never left my side, we were inseparable no matter how badly I wanted him to go away. He was always sad and never wanted to do much. I started to become like him. This friend dragged me down to the ocean depths, hitting the rocks at the bottom, gasping for air, drowning with sorrow. No matter how hard I tried to get rid of him he always came back, and I could not help but let him back. I would tell him to “LEAVE ME ALONE” but to no avail. Some days he would let me be but it always seemed like I was his best friend. He began to hurt me emotionally. I sought council but even that didn’t work for very long. I eventually realized that to get rid of this eager friend I would have to put in a lot of effort and this effort had to come from me; I could lean on others for support but in the end, I had to depend upon myself. Persistence, resilience, understanding, and patience. These were key in getting through the tough moments. Eventually I did get rid of my old friend. I will always have to fight him off. He still comes and goes but now when he comes I do not let him control me, I know how to cope with his persistent annoyance. I have conquered my challenges and defeated Depression.


  4. Education is the solution to getting out of poverty. In my experience, I did not come from a wealthy family or even a two-parent household. From a young age, our mother has worked hard to give us the best education possible. We grew up in Philadelphia, and from a young age we followed the education. Although comfortable around people I could relate to culturally, the school systems lacked quality education. The most drastic change my family had in our education began after moving to Massachusetts. The quality of our education increased, but we were now one of the two black families in the town. We could no longer relate to anyone culturally, but I was excited that I was now in an environment where I was challenged, where each kid got new books for every class, and where we were introduced to languages like Latin in addition to Spanish. I began to get introduced to waivers and scholarships when my mother could not meet the financial requirements. It was when I moved, that I begun to notice the opportunities and resources offered to kids, for little to no cost, who looked a little lighter than I did and who came from a more financially stable household.
    While in middle school, my sister got extremely sick. She was battling failing kidneys up until her successful transplant last fall, which occurred during my junior year of college. During this time, my mother could not assist my siblings and I with our education. I needed help applying to college, filling out scholarships, learning what a FAFSA was, etc. High School was were I began to network and ask for help, because I could not get through school or my home life without it. My current decision to major in psychology was impacted by the experience that I had in high school. What I did not have in finances, I made up for in my drive to learn. Throughout college, I was able to utilize waivers, scholarships, loans, and jobs on campus to continue to push me through four years of school. I also got involved on campus, which opened my eyes to new perspectives on other majors, and helped to influence what I wanted to do when I graduated.
    Essentially, when I graduated I wanted to give back to my community, and other communities that were far more underprivileged than mine. I wanted to use the resources I learned about in high school and throughout college to help kids get interested in higher education, and provide them with the tools to successfully complete their degrees. I realized that I wanted a more hands-on experience in influencing how kids are taught and how they retain information, because all kids learn and process information differently, which is a great thing. Education is the way out of poverty, and I want to continue to create the same opportunity that my mother created for me.


  5. This I Believe
    “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them” – Dalai Lama

    I always believe in helping others which makes me feel proud when I see smile on their face. Since my childhood I have observed my father helping everyone who use to approach him for help. I lived in a joint family and my father is the eldest amongst the three brothers. He has always taught me to be helpful and kind to others and to stand for them. I would like to share a life changing incident with you. Once he saw a poor kid who wasn’t able to afford his studies but was very dedicated. We heard that kid studied under the street lights at night because he didn’t have electricity at the slum where he lived with his parents. My father sponsored his education. After his graduation he passed the Civil services exam and became district magistrate. Nowadays he is helping other kids who does not able to afford their studies and also donates money to orphanage so and supporting their career in many ways. I got to know about his good deeds from my uncle when I was ten and then I came to know about a person who is like a god to me and whom I admire the most. He is none other than my Father. His face shines with proud and happiness when he meets that child as a top government official. He has passed down his nature of helping others with me and my siblings, so that in future if anyone needs any help and If we can do it, then definitely we will help them. I find Satisfaction helping others and giving a smile on their face. I feel proud of remembering my father’s kind nature. By this I believe that helping someone and shaping someone’s career gives a new meaning and purpose to your life.


  6. I think I was in early elementary school when I first had it. I was in Market Basket with mother and I asked for the clear container with the two light colors inside. The taste was so sweet and I wanted more every time the clear container ran out. I remember how the pink never left a mark in my mouth, but the blue always did. I remember how it left my teeth and tongue bluer than the ocean. I never understood why as a child, because the taste of the two colors never differed in sweetness.
    These two colors began to show up in other aspects of my young life whether it was at baby showers. Pink for a baby girl or blue for a baby boy. Even in everyday child-like interactions, I remember young boys telling me that I am a girl, and I must like pink. I was being given a set of characteristics that were associated with my sex to define my gender even when I did not understand what the two words meant. Growing up I realized these two colors worked together to instill social norms about gender and its connection to biological sex. These ideas were presented as simple as the taste and color of cotton candy. But the idea of a connection between sex and gender is nowhere near that simple
    I had the opportunity to learn that this idea is more complex. I learned that gender cannot be contained to a set of properties that define men as men and women as women. Gender is on a spectrum, and it can fluctuate from person to person. It is that person right to find that gender identity even if society tells them otherwise.
    So, I am tired of cotton candy and its flavored. I am tired of accepting the beliefs that were given to me by a non-inclusive society. I am tired of seeing my fellow friends and classmates fighting and defending for identities that they already have a right to. I am over the sweet and easy taste of social control and insecurity. I believe in the right to an identity journey that is not boxed in or contained. There is more than just cotton candy.


  7. Living in a highly populated urban community and being apart of the frequently used phrase “inner city youth,” I know what it was like to look at such a dangerous place as home, paradise and ironically enough, a safe haven. Being raised in Mattapan meant that the ice cream man sold more than just ice cream and despite the health risks, a plate of fried plantains and fried chicken was sold for five dollars everyday. Aside from the concrete paradise I considered home, living in what is considered the ghetto also means watching injustices occur around me everyday and not knowing it was injustice but instead considered it normalcy. It was normal for my brother to be profiled while at the basketball court down the street. It was normal to watch a black man run away from the police. Injustice was a way of life for me not by choice but because I was uninformed as to what was supposed to be normal. Not only do I want to inform my students about the things they don’t know inside the classroom but I also want to teach, embody and instill morals that they can use outside the classroom as well. In my opinion, this way, no child is left in the ignorance I grew up to consider normal. Being educated means much more than a classroom lesson to me and that is what my contribution will be, so much more. I am truly invested in the generations to come. I have wanted to care for children since I was 5 years old. This dream was somewhat taken from me when I was discouraged from caring for children because the pay was too low especially in low-income / inner city communities and those are the areas that I want to inspire and impact the most. Despite the obstacles set against me & kids like me, I will change the narrative. I will embody a life of hope. Statistics, backgrounds, or ignorance will mean nothing to me or my students. I will live to impart life. This I believe.


  8. The battle in my mind, it has subsided.

    “Isn’t it beautiful?” A friend said to me once. “What’s beautiful?” I replied. “The fog and it’s uncertainty.” As we walked soundlessly, overlooking green marshes in the outskirts of town, immersed in a fog that clouded my vision, I saw that she was right. The fog in all its strength was truly breath-taking. I had never seen anything like it.

    Similarly, now I compare the fog of that day to my mind.

    It’s quite easy to get lost in your own thoughts, sometimes. Whether daydreaming in the presence others or setting up a list of to do’s first thing in the morning. The mind is a powerful place. It possesses the ability to control which lenses you view the world through. There are many lenses. Lenses of dysfunction, negativity, self-centeredness, fear, anger and also lenses of positivity, hope, optimism, courage and forgiveness. My mind, thoughts and actions had imitated the lenses of which I viewed my world through for years.

    Challenges, insecurities and unfortunate events had warped my identity to resemble glass with numerous cracks in it. During the nights of my prom and graduation I found myself at one of my lowest points ever, contemplating life and if it was worth pursuing.

    The reality was that I was so broken-hearted with not having dead set answers, that suicide for even just seconds seemed like a viable alternative.So, one night I sat down to just think about it. To honestly examine the pros and cons. As I wrote I found that…

    There was purpose for my life even though I didn’t have all the answers. There was a purpose for my life even though mental pain at times seemed unbearable. There was purpose through it all and the evidence of this was that this heart was still beating loud and clear.

    I have found my assignment is to love and be loved. That my purpose is to encourage and be encouraged. That as long as there is breath in this body, God has not finished using me as a vessel to bring love. The reality is that my hands, my heart, my mind will forever bring something valuable and unique to the table. And I now believe that every human being has a purpose for living.

    The battle in my mind, it has subsided. I have a purpose, simply to love.


  9. UMass Dartmouth has provided me with the exact essential resources, in terms of support and integrity, that I expected before coming here. I believe that I have gained a lot of confidence, I believe that UMass Dartmouth is the one institution that does its part in inclusivity, respecting all genders, and promoting or encouraging diversity. I believe that respecting all genders, all races, and all kinds of people is respectable and intriguing towards yourself, the community, the nation, and the whole world. I am a Muslim, a Pakistani, a South Asian, a human being. I believe that I belong to this community equally. I believe that every human being, deserves a right to be involved, and included at this campus, in this country, and worldwide.
    I believe that I have the potential to become a leader, and UMass Dartmouth has assisted me in building that potential, confidence, and dedication. However, believing is something harder than to think of. Slowly building trust, happiness, and potential, hints to believing something in an easier way. Seeking my goals require me to be a successful leader. I believe that I will become an orthodontist one day. I believe that I will become an actor one day. I believe that I will run a large dance group one day. Moreover, I just need the right skills, mindset and, enthusiasm to pursue my goals. Seeing is believing, hearing is believing, learning is believing, because believing has a lot of ways. I just need the right catch to believe in something truthfully, hence, just like I have believed in the past. The same and more enhanced path can make me a successful person in the future.
    UMass Dartmouth believes in me, and I believe in this institution. I believe it will guide, and prepare me for my future incomings, and endure me to reach my goals.


  10. I believe in Gods timing. From the moment we are conceived we have developmental milestones to reach. We learn at each step of our lives there are goals we must accomplish to be considered on the right path. Everything seems to be timed out for us. During my time here at UMassD I have learned that real life happens on Gods timing. We enter this chapter of our lives excepting it to end in just four years’ time not knowing the lessons we are going to learn and how we are going to be forced to grow whether we want to or not. In this time, we will be tested, torn down to be built back up and may see some of the most challenging times of our lives. In this time, we may find ultimate bliss in our ignorance, meet lifelong friends and make life-changing memories. In this time, we must remember that Experience is life’s greatest teacher. All the small pieces of the puzzle make up the bigger picture. No matter where you are at, in this time live a life that influences inspires and impacts those around you. Even in your darkness, your light will shine.
    He makes all things Beautiful in His time – Ecclesiastes 3:11


  11. It is commonly said, “There are some things that money can’t buy like manners, morals, and integrity.” I believe that no matter what kind of lifestyle you live and how you act towards others shows the type of person you truly are. Having a good education or a nice car should never give you the right to treat others poorly.
    I began a private school education in high school, for middle school I went to a charter school. My middle school, McAuliffe, was a mixed bag of economic backgrounds. One child was aware that her family was more economically stable than others and she would boast on and on about how she could afford luxury things. When someone was not able to afford the newest clothes or gadgets she would tease them. She was able to afford anything she could ever want, but constantly had to remind all of our peers that she knew she was better than them.
    The definition of integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” The amount of integrity each person has sets people apart. Having morals that you stick to even if there are people doubting you is important. The culture I grew up in taught me to have good morals, my mother made sure I knew the difference between people with good morals and ones with bad. She always told me the people that had bad morals were lost and that all they would do for me is get me lost as well. Honesty is a pillar in my trust of anyone, people that twist their the truth to benefit themselves have do not have good moral standards. Michelle Obama once said, “We learned about honesty and integrity- that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” I believe people who are not honest or people who lie and find shortcuts through life are not people anyone should surround themselves with. I believe that honest people are good quality people..
    I believe that your actions and the way you treat others will define who you are as a person. Not how much money you have, where you go to school, how popular you are, or the grades you get. What defines you is how you treat people, your honesty, having good righteous morals and good intentions for others and yourself. I believe that having strong morals are important, I believe that you should base your opinion of someone on how they act not what they have. I believe that money does not give you the right to treat people poorly. Just as I teach the children at Boys and Girls Club, the golden rule; treat others the way you want to be treated. I believe we should all live up to this one simple moral code.


  12. “Wake up with determination and go to bed with satisfaction.” That is the statement I live by. Determination is knowing what your goal is and doing everything in your power to accomplish it. Once you are determined to reach your goal, no obstacle is going to stop your journey. Setting a goal does not guarantee that you will reach success if you do not have the drive within you to conquer it.
    I consider myself a very self-driven person and once I set my mind on something I do everything in my power to accomplish it. When I came to the United States I did not know anyone, and I could barely speak English. It was a new school, new people, and new habits that I had to get used to. It was very hard getting used to all these changes because I am an introvert, but I had a goal which was to be part of the women’s basketball team at my high school. I used to play basketball back in my home country (Cape Verde) and when I came, the season was at the end. I had to wait until the next academic year to try out. When I did try out for the basketball team of Brockton High School in my junior year, I made the Junior Varsity team but that was just not enough for me. I kept showing my hard work in court, and two weeks after I got moved to the Varsity team. By my senior year, I was one of the starting five of my team and that was because of my dedication to basketball, and always trying my best to accomplish my goal. I also dedicated myself to my academics and even though English is not my first language, I have always been one of the top students of my class ever since I graduated high school, and throughout my 2 years in college. Moving to college was like moving from Cape Verde to the United States all over again. New people and new adaptations. But I believe that my determination and the sacrifices I make now will pay off once I graduate.


  13. I strongly believe that opportunity is one of the steps to success. I moved to the United States with my mother and three sisters. It was a very long process to get the visa and to come to the states because of the strong immigration policies, rules, and procedures. I remember that we went through so many frustrating phases because of this process. People at the U.S. Embassy office sent us from one place to another, and financially also it was challenging because to do little things like signing the paper or passport and another technical process. The process took about 6 years. My oldest sister was the one who helped with the process. When we first started the process I was in first grade. Finally, after six years of the wait, the day of the interview arrived. We felt like we reached to the last process as the interview is the last process.
    One of the good things about moving to the states is of its free education up until High School. After we moved here, I went through so many challenges of the language barrier because English is my second language. It was very difficult for me to speak, and people had a hard time understanding me because of my accent. I challenged myself with all difficulties. However, I was lucky enough to get adjusted to this part of the world. It would not have been possible without my family. It was difficult because we had to start everything from scratch and leave behind all our loved ones and birthplace. Dealing with so many problems in life has made me stronger as a person and changed me a lot. My family is the greatest support for me as they have been always there for me through my good and bads and through all the thicks and thins. I worked very hard in high school and got honor roll and getting into college which is UMass Dartmouth. I am very thankful for my father and mother because they have worked very hard to bring me to the United States, the country of opportunities and freedom. I have been working very hard on getting my degree in order to succeed and make my family proud. I want to be a Nurse and help people who are in pain and work in the hospital and get experience. After I get some experience, I want to go to the undeveloped country and help people who are poor, lower class and people who cannot afford to pay for their medication.
    -Kripa Thapa


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