As a black student coming to the University of Oklahoma, finding my place and fitting in was never on my mind. I grew up in a really diverse suburban neighborhood, with friends of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds. There was never a question of ethnic diversity where I was. As I entered into my college career at the University of Oklahoma, I started to realize that while there was a presence of various ethnic backgrounds, it was still smaller than what I was used to. It was a bit of a culture shock, and I kind of wondered how I was going to get involved, or where I was going to find my place.

I originally started my journey at OU by trying to get involved with the Black Student Association. I felt like that was going to be my home and safe ground. I started to meet other students of other ethnic identities, who encouraged me to come to other meetings. During my first semester, I ended up applying for Campus Activities Council’s Howdy Week. I applied to be secretary, and I received it. I was slowly starting to realize that ethnic diversity is not directly related to openness. Although this organization was predominantly ran by one race, I realized that that should not stop me from putting myself out there, and trying to find new places for myself. I grew to love Campus Activities Council, which then led me to join some other organizations on campus. I grew the confidence to know that I could join any organization, despite the fact that I might be in a room dominated by one group of people. Because I put myself out there, I’ve now gotten the chance to share different perspectives to different organizations and I’ve gotten to help encourage different students to apply.

No university is perfect; no university has the “right” number of anything. You might be one of the few, but it is what you do and how you do it and what you learn about yourself and community that matters. It is easy to be afraid, and to be hesitant to join a group where you are the only _____, but you have a lot to offer to that group. You have an unheard perspective and voice.

The University of Oklahoma has many opportunities to offer to every student, but if you don’t put yourself out there, then you can never get to them. Be the change.

Kennedie Akinwande

Dallas, TX

Psychology/Human Relations

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar