What college/university are you attending and what made you choose it?
UCLA. I attended UCLA as an undergrad as well, during my time there I thoroughly enjoyed my educational journey and was not quite ready to say goodbye to that beautiful campus. Also, the opportunity to be the first Black transgender woman to become a Triple Bruin was too good to pass up.
Which program are you pursuing and what about the subject intrigues you most?
I am currently pursuing my MSW/Ph.D. in Social Welfare. I decided to pursue this field because it was in such alignment with the work that I had been doing over the past decade of community building and service provision work. I want to be able to develop better practices for working with my communities and I thought this field would best accomplish this goal.
What are your career aspirations?
I want to do so many things in my community. I am interested in developing innovative social interventions designed to engage my community in a more holistic approach to improving overall health outcomes. As an aspiring researcher, I hope to be able to demonstrate the efficacy of these interventions and use the data to advocate for funding and policies that can sustain these projects moving forward. Lastly, I am interested in creating safe and affirming foster care services for QTBIPOC youth who are actively involved in the foster care system.
What is your favorite book/movie/song and why?
My favorite song for the longest has been "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack because it's important to get out there and live the life you have, take all the chances, and have an adventure to tell people about when you're older.
What is your current favorite streaming binge?
Umbrella Academy & Lucifer
In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing?
When I am not involved in any projects I usually like to relax and do as close to absolutely nothing as possible. Staying home in some comfy clothes, listening to music, and dancing around my house while I wait for my UberEats order to get here.
How are you practicing self-care during this difficult time?
I am practicing my mindfulness and meditation more and more. Just finding a few minutes to do resting breaths and stay grounded in any space I am in has been really helpful.
How are you adjusting to remote life and what are your tips to stay motivated?
One day at a time, I think that is all any of us can do. For me, creating a schedule that incorporates self-care practices into it daily has kept me motivated. I know that if I wake up at 6 am, I can have my morning ritual of coffee and music at dawn, if I complete all my tasks by noon, I can take a cool shower and do a face mask before jumping back to work. So whatever works for you, build in equal parts work and play each and every day.
As a Point Scholar, what is your message to other LGBTQ+ students?
You are some of the most amazing people on the planet right now. Pursuing your education under COVID-19, the current political climate, the countless individual stories each of you may have where life wasn't so great...any of these things alone could make someone quit, let alone to think you're existing and thriving under all of these conditions at once. The fact that despite it all you remain committed to your education is a testament to your strength and resilience. None of us have the answer we need, there is no manual for how to do this. We are figuring this out together, and I am honored to be among you, pioneering this new phase of virtual education.
This post’s responses were submitted by Point Scholar Vanessa Warri.
Warri is currently pursuing an MSW/PhD in Social Welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles. Read more about Vanessa here.