I think for me, a big part of Williams was finding myself. Williams is a place with a lot of identities, but sometimes, it is hard to find intersectionality outside the classroom. I am a Colombian immigrant of mixed cultural heritage, a science and math major, technically an international student, first-gen (sort of), and many more things, which have all sometimes been highlighted in very unforeseen ways (sometimes in a good way, sometimes not so much) at Williams. I was often challenged with the question of who I am, and who I want to be. I think everyone at Williams is coming with what they believe is a set identity, but for many students, the idea of identity will be questioned and highlighted in many ways at Williams--whether that is due to academic challenge, the diversity of campus, or simply by learning to be away from home.
I was always undecided in my interests as a student, but this never quite became as clear as when I started classes at Williams. I am a Chemistry and Math major now, with a neuroscience concentration. If you had seen the confused girl from freshman fall who almost withdrew from intro chem out of fear and impostor syndrome, you would have never guessed where I would be now. Reflecting back, many parts of my identity that I was either not aware of, or maybe too aware of, or I simply just forgot existed, were deeply at play. Academic success and the self are deeply interconnected (and sleep is important-- no matter what anyone tells you).
During the pandemic, I have stayed on campus and been a housing coordinator the whole time. I have seen the college change, from students first learning of the closure, to everyone packing up and leaving, to where we are now. I think in a way, it was a privilege to have some stability during this time as the world around me changed day-by-day. Now that the decision for the fall has been made, I have an idea of what campus is like now, and on being away from home in a way we never expected: in solitude, distance, and uncertainty.
I am a Colombian immigrant who has lived in the Southern United States for nearly a decade. As time continues to pass, my immigrant experience, and everything that has happened since, has been my greatest source of reflection and inspiration as I move forward with my goals and aspirations. These two drawings are a reflection of how my identity was re-defined by coming to Williams. As I was drawing these, I felt like it was worth noting that my time here has been shaped by doubt about who I am, who I want to be, and where I belong in the world. These drawings therefore represent an uncompleted journey into the now familiar, yet still uncertain future that the purple valley holds for me, where I continue to build myself.