I was a Hijabi and a woman of color...
Coming from a different culture and background it is not easy to adjust in a whole new different
country. I came to Whitman college in 2019 and felt lost and confused about everything here.
My struggle here was not only due to the fact that I come from a different culture - it was also
due to my appearance. I was a Hijabi and a woman of color. I often found myself misfit in many
social gatherings - I experienced people judgemental gazes. I faced microaggression and
subtle racism here. It was very difficult for me to navigate life in the Whitman bubble while
having several labels on me. I often see people talking about instances of encountering racism
- however no one talks about how microaggression can profusely impact your mental well being.
At times it is completely fine to feel down, insecure and misfit but what is not fine is to sit in
denial. I have always tried my best to seek help. My friends at Whitman have been a great help.
I have been to therapy to navigate the issues I am encountering. Avoidance and denial are the
envy of your mental well being. It is so crucial to be open about how you feel, take a break and
seek help. These are the things that have helped me to improve my mental health and I have
been more confident and vocal standing up for myself. I truly believe that it is easier said than
done but yet from my own experiences it is not impossible.
Kainat Ansari '23 is a junior Psychology major from Karachi, Pakistan.