Coming to Stonehill College was very difficult for me — I did not know anyone and I had not visited the campus before I sent in my deposit. Within the first few weeks of my freshman year, I sadly felt that I had made the wrong decision to come here. I felt as if I didn’t belong, and that Stonehill was everything I was not. As a Dominican American student from Boston, I found that so many people were unlike me. Many of them were white, grew up in the suburbs, and did not know much about my cultural background. Despite all the initial disappointment I felt about Stonehill, I had made myself a promise to stay there. Of course, since this is an “I Love Stonehill” testimonial, my experience soon became better. Looking back, I am glad I made the decision to stay at Stonehill. Transferring to another school would have been the easy way out of feeling uncomfortable. But by staying at Stonehill, I was challenging myself and those around me to learn more about diversity of culture, people, backgrounds and experiences.
The one aspect of Stonehill that has given me hope that I mattered was the Office of Intercultural Affairs. They had leadership program for students of color and for students who were interested in learning more about diversity. The more I grew to know the staff and student leaders, the more involved I became with the school. As the end of my freshman year rolled around I saw myself becoming more involved with the campus and realizing that maybe I can make a difference here at Stonehill.
After becoming involved with the ALANA-A Brothers and Sisters Leadership Program, I felt a sense of belonging. I was able to reach out to the students who had similar feelings that I experienced and, through impacting the lives of others, I was able to positively change my own. I felt empowered and supported to communicate my ideas in a clear manner, and I have been able to safely challenge people to think outside of their own comfort zones. Even though I was not head over heels in love with Stonehill, I certainly have grown to love and appreciate the incredible opportunity to grow as a leader and to create a more inclusive campus community. Yes, I now have a soft spot for Stonehill. It is the challenging times that tells us who we are and what we are capable of. By sticking with Stonehill until the very end, I was able to find out characteristics about myself that I would not have otherwise known.
It is important for people to realize that life is a personal struggle regardless of where life takes us and it is important for us, individually, to set ourselves up for what we will face later on in life. Stonehill has given the chance to develop a toolbox that I would not have been able to develop if I had taken the easy way out and transferred to another college. In the end, I know I made the right decision by choosing to attend Stonehill College. The College is more than just athletics and academics; it is a place that is continuously pushing us to take responsibility for ourselves and actions. The Intercultural Affairs Office and the staff allowed me to find my voice and role at Stonehill when I felt that I was the most lost in the world. That is why I now love Stonehill. I have found my voice, had great support, and will graduate from here knowing I am a leader, an activist, an educated Latina woman, and an agent of change.
-Michelle Tineo, Class of 2012
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