Humans of Simmons: the stories behind the students

“Humans of Simmons” is a new feature which highlights the students and faculty at Simmons College. Based off of Brandon Stanton’s artwork and novels, the Voice and OSLA collaborated on capturing the stories of the community on Oct. 1, 2015. There will be other events held during the year for more people to get a chance to be interviewed.

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“I’m originally from Sri Lanka. I grew up there for the first seventeen years of my life. My mom’s Swiss and my dad’s Sri Lankan and I moved to California for my senior year of high school.

“I think the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life was growing up biracial because it was a constant struggle deciding whether I was more in touch with my culture that was linked to my mom’s side or my dad’s side. And it was really ironic cause growing up in South Asia, I was considered to be white and so I was afforded white privilege, and moving to America made me realize that I did not have that privilege anymore.

“It was an intense transition because most of the time I wasn’t even allowed to be Asian, one could say, like people would ask me ‘Oh what’s your nationality?’

“I’d be like ‘Oh I’m Asian.’

“And they would be like: ‘No you’re not.’

“It was kind of weird to be around people who refused to accept me for who I was. A lot of times I found that, being grouped in a minority category, people would assume that I was Latina. So I was often categorized by stereotypes that were afforded to those people. It was really intense because I often found myself realizing that whether I was Asian or Latina or any minority group, I was never really expected to be a part of the white culture I’d grown so accustomed to back home.

“One thing that I appreciate about Simmons College is that although there is a large community of people who are white and there is not a large people of color community, I’ve never actually been approached with the same accusatory tones or expectations that I would only be this certain category or that people would box me into a category. I really appreciate that because it’s motivated me to appreciate all aspects of my culture; especially my Asian heritage. It becomes a platform where I can speak for myself as well as my people, and I haven’t really had that for a long time, so I really appreciate that.”

Simmons student posing for the camera
“I’ve been an orientation leader for three years now, and it’s great seeing all the people I know, all the first-years growing up and being really involved. I’m usually a very sarcastic person and I try to act not easily impressed but when I do see one of my orientees do big things here—I’m low-key but very proud of them.”
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“How did you guys meet?” “We all hated the same things at Orientation—which was pretty much everything.” “We were in the same group.”
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“My story is about my ring that I wear on my finger every day. It’s a replica of one that my mom wears every day. It’s my good luck charm, being so far away from her ‘cause I’m from Chicago.”