By: Annette Girion -MRN Scholarship & Resources Coordinator
Many of our schedules cram up around this time of year. In my own experience, since the beginning of the academic year, I have progressively grown busier, spoken less to my family, had fewer gatherings with my friends, and have completely stopped doing any of my hobbies such as reading for pleasure. But with the holidays comes a break from all of those factors contributing to my ever full schedule: school, work, and everyday responsibilities. I have never had to hustle so much as I have within this last semester, so I am going to take advantage of my small break like I never have before, and reconnect with everything I have been neglecting including my hobbies, my friends and family, and myself.
A great tool for these kinds of reconnections is a book that I discovered during my search for multiracial student resources. It is called Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories, edited by Andrew Garrod, Robert Kilkenny, and Christina Gómez and it was published in 2013. The compositions in this book are by multiracial college students and take us through their identity development processes, recounting specific people and moments in their lives that their identities had an impact on. The personal stories cover their journeys as multiracial students who have struggled with their identity, felt in between two races like they don’t belong, and who find appreciation for the multiple perspectives built into their lives. As I read through the stories of multiracial students coming to terms with their racial and ethnic identity, I was surprised to discover how shockingly similar some of these students’ experiences were to my own. Each essay served as a reminder of my own experiences growing up in a multiracial household, and reading the book with the holidays approaching, put a focus on traditions. I cannot help but reflect on the differences and similarities of my two cultures.
A few years ago on Thanksgiving, I had a unique experience of my Japanese family and my American family coming together for the first time. My cousin from Japan was visiting and we brought her to our Thanksgiving potluck. I remember feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness because I was unsure how to split my attention and worried about my cousin having a good experience as her English was not fluent. It ended up being as relaxing and enjoyable as any other Thanksgiving, except I got the added pleasure of having both sides of my family who live continents apart in one room, getting along and learning from each other. A few years later, just days from now, I get to have both sides of my families together again, with my aunt and grandmother from Japan visiting. I am grateful to be able to spend time with both sides of my family and if I could change one thing, it would be to have more time with them; time that is demanded from me by my many commitments. I realize that I am lucky to not only have two such differing cultural experiences because of my mixed race, but that both sides of my family accept each other and can enjoy each other’s company.
The holiday season is a time we get the opportunity to spend more time with our families and reconnect with ourselves. Just like Mixed was able to provide me with a look back at one of my identity realizations during the holidays, consider it as companion stories to help you with your reconnection to your own identity and appreciation for your cultural celebrations and traditions, whether it is one or many.
You can get a preview of the book here: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00H2G2KBW&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_4A3mybPQZRYZM
Consider the book, Mixed for reconnecting with yourself, with your friends and families.