I spotted Courtney Murphy, a freshman English and Communications major at Pace University, sitting in the back of the Pleasantville Starbucks drinking her iced peach green tea.
What’re you thinking about?
“Well, I’m approaching the end of my freshman year, and the pressure for me to figure out who I am just hit me. You know, like what have I done in the past year? Who am I gonna be? What do I wanna do? What’s my identity? I always identify with my ethnicity because that’s what I’m most comfortable with, but even that makes me think a lot about the fact that there’s more to my identity than just my ethnicity. There’s gotta be more. I’ve been really thinking about what makes me, me? I want to find my niche so I can do something positive with it. I look at my mother and she runs this organization called Haitian Community Development Project (HCDP), and they work both in Haiti and the US to bring sustainability projects to Haiti. And my sister is a doctor working towards her masters in public health. She’s always idolized Dr. Paul farmer, who works in this clinic and they help people in Haiti. But the patients keep coming back with the same illnesses because the environmental issues haven’t changed. You can cure people but sending them back to the same place that made them sick, is that really helping? Even though I’m still trying to figure out my full identity and what I want to base my life around, I know for sure that I want to make sure the medical work done on the ground doesn’t go in vain. I want to work in environmental sustainability in developing countries.”
As I was listening to Courtney, I sat in complete awe at this freshman that was determined to make her life impactful, even though most students her age still have no idea what classes they want to take. Struggling with your identity can be difficult, and a lot of people limit the idea of identity with just their culture. However, there is a deeper layer of identity that makes us who we are, and that’s important to recognize.
Written by Nihal