The Point Flagship scholarship for LGBTQ students provides financial assistance, mentoring, leadership programming, and more, to help LGBTQ students attending 4-year colleges or graduate schools achieve their dreams. Learn more about the program and apply to join this year's class at pointfoundation.org/flagship.
Why did you choose your major or program?
With theoretical physics, every discovery or finding is almost always something never-before-seen and, therefore, a piece of potentially world-altering information. That sense of infinite novelty has always intrigued me. On the other hand, public policy is as tangible as any field can be. I want to work towards reforming the policies that impact citizens’ everyday lives, conveying the collective voice of those who have never before had the opportunity to speak.
What is a fun fact about you that few people know?
I am coming to MIT as someone who has spent their entire life training as, ironically enough, a classical vocalist. For the last four years, I have been studying opera and choral performance at a nationally recognized arts high school. I was a science junkie in a sea of art nerds, but I still manage to make room for both in my life.
What is your favorite song and why?
“Only in Sleep” by Ēriks Ešenvalds is a choral piece which I first performed right around the biggest turning point of my life—as a freshman in high school finally recognizing my place in the world. The song captures a universal desire to return to the idylls and innocence of childhood (and never fails to make me shed a few tears). My favorite lines of the text (by Sara Teasdale) are “Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder / And for them am I, too, a child?”
What is your current favorite streaming binge and why?
I cannot stop binging “Lupin”! Every plot twist is so refreshingly unexpected; the whole series is centered around duping its audience.
What is your favorite hobby or activity you like to do in your free time?
Filmmaking. I think of it as a way of making memories more palpable, like visual poetry. I usually focus on documenting my own experiences with scenes of everyday life, but, recently, I have started to dabble in more cinematic work.
How have your identities (race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender) affected your college experience?
I am grateful for the experiences I have had as a trans, gay Latinx student raised in South Side, Chicago. Growing up positioned against a constant pressure to Americanize gave me the determination to always find pride in my diverse ancestry. Likewise, recalling the loneliness I felt when coming out at the mere age of 10 is what drives me to keep fighting on behalf of my community—and raising up my fellow peers—so that one day, no one will ever have to feel that pain again
How do you practice self-care?
I try to practice self-care by eliminating toxic productivity: allowing myself the freedom to slow down and partake in small things I enjoy, even if these are not necessarily academically or professionally beneficial. It can feel so gratifying just taking the time to make myself a "fancy" espresso drink or learn a new trick on my skateboard.
How are you adjusting to the "new normal" as we're emerging from this pandemic? Do you have any tips for other students who are going back to college this semester?
I am excited to finally be physically interacting with other students, after a year of fully online classes and a job working alongside others with twice my life experience. While I am only just entering college, I would advise that you remain patient with yourself as you reacclimate. Everyone is undergoing this same awkward return to partial normalcy, so no one is expecting you to rush back in or immediately reclaim your “groove.”
This post’s responses were submitted by Point Flagship Scholar Arianna Peró (They/He).