If I could have learned one piece of information from the moment I stepped on campus, it would have been to find my student services offices. As a queer brown first-generation student, it was difficult for me to navigate my dynamic identity on campus. I was lucky to have met someone from my scholarship program that took me around and introduced me to the first-gen program that was available on my campus. This was where I was able to meet my first group of friends, with whom many I am still friends.
It took me some time to become aware that we had an LGBT Student Services office, and even later that there was a Chicana/o / Latina/o Student Services office. This was because they were, at the beginning of my college career, located on different floors. Finding these different student service offices really helped me during my time in college for a myriad of reasons.
The first was that it is one thing to be LGBT, but it’s totally different when you add Latino in to the mix. Luckily, the director of LGBTSS was a brown queer femme. They really helped me find resources, books, websites, etc. that helped me decipher my experiences. The second reason is that I was actually offered a job in the LGBTSS office. As a first-gen student, you know the struggle is real! It was a privilege to be able to work in an office that catered to my community as well as offered me the opportunity to advance my own skills and develop new ones as well. The third is that the two directors were able to offer their respective advice, given that I chose to run for leadership roles in different clubs on campus. The LGBTSS director was able to coach me when it came to services as elected president of the GSA we have on campus. Similarly, the director of CLSS was able to coach me when I became the president of my Latino-based fraternity on campus, of which he was also a brother at his alma mater!
I would have not been able to successfully complete my respective roles in either of those organization if I did not have the support of those two student services offices. Nor would I have had such an amazing experience at my alma mater if I was not a part of those different organization on campus.
- Loyola Marymount University, 2018