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?
Upon graduating in 2017 with a B.A. in Gender Studies and entering Deloitte’s Government and Public Services practice, I was motivated by the opportunity to better understand the complex problems that government institutions were facing in their varied missions to serve the general public. I was able to see from a unique perspective how many of these global challenges were interconnected and required not only the public sector’s energy, but also investment and innovation from the private sector. The majority of my projects at Deloitte have focused on this intersection, influencing me to pursue a joint MBA/MPP to become a more effective advocate for bringing private sector ingenuity to public sector issues that affect marginalized communities around the world.
What is a fun fact about you that few people know?
I was extremely close to pursuing a career as a commercial airline pilot!
What is your favorite song and why?
I don’t think I have a favorite song in particular, but I’ve been listening to Divine by Ayoni on repeat for the past two weeks. The rhythm is catchy, Ayon’s vocals are dazzling, and the lyrics are cerebral – what more could you want?
What is your current favorite streaming binge and why?
Schitt’s Creek! I’m pretty late to the game on binging the series, but I’m glad so many of my friends have suggested watching it. The character development, quirky personalities, and hilarious plotlines create such a heartwarming show that’s not only easy to watch, but also a joy to binge.
What is your favorite hobby or activity you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy street photography whenever I have a moment to walk around aimlessly and take in my surroundings. It’s made me more aware of the smaller treasures around us that we typically would glance by or completely miss.
How have your identities (race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender) affected your college experience?
The fact that I was a first-generation college student was not distinct from the fact that my dad grew up in this country as a Black man and that my mom is an immigrant. I thought I was in over my head when I walked onto Yale’s campus for the first time and realized that I was surrounded by immense privilege. My identity as a queer person of color from a low-income background made it easier to convince myself that I was an imposter and undeserving of the resources and education I received in college. But the friends I made inspired me to move past these insecurities and relentlessly pursue my aspirations. I majored in Gender Studies because I wanted to better understand myself in the context of how the larger world operates. I invested my time in initiatives and activities that supported the communities I come from and deeply care about. My identities made my college experience meaningful beyond my wildest expectations, allowing me to become a critical thinker and creative problem solver.
How do you practice self-care?
I’m learning to be more forgiving with myself when I’m feeling a little lazy or unmotivated. The pandemic has made me realize that I need to redefine what “productivity” means for me personally outside of how I’ve been taught and socialized to understand it. What this looks like in practice, broadly, is listening to my body more and being more intentional with how I use my time and energy.
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?
As things start opening up more and events begin to flood your calendar, it may feel like you’re drinking from a water hose. Don’t forget to give yourself a moment to breathe. Take smaller breaks throughout the day to give yourself the headspace you need to be healthy and mindful, and don’t be afraid to prioritize yourself and your well-being.
This post’s responses were submitted by Point Flagship Scholar Jamar Williams (He/Him).