I originally wanted to write a story on how social media has shaped our generation. I wanted to find a way to show how social media has affected us and analyze how it would continue to play a pivotal role in our lives moving forward. Over the years we have seen race-related issues captured on our phones and then later shared on social media. Seeing how social media has shaped society and played a role in many historical events, I wanted to explore how diversity and inclusion has become a topic of debate.
I originally came up with writing about diversity and inclusion at the David Eccles School of Business through everything that has happened over the last couple of years. Seeing all of the protests and injustices that were going on made me feel upset and I was emotionally drained. I don’t think the business school takes into consideration how the stigma of being a business student and a person of color affects one’s mind and educational career.
Having been at the business school for a year, I have experienced many different types of microaggressions. These microaggressions have come in many forms such as being asked where I’m really from, the origin of my name, being mask-shamed, and being called many different rude and offensive names. There are not many students of color who go to business school, which makes it hard for one to connect and feel safe while training to learn and grow as a student and person. My main goal was to think of ideas the business school and I could start doing to make students feel like they belong.
I located my sources through my scholarship. I am part of First Ascent Scholars, which is a program through the business school. First Ascent Scholars has provided many different resources such as tutoring, professional mentors, therapists, and financial help. I interviewed a fellow First Ascent Scholar, Julie Paredes-Pozas, who was able to explain how she genuinely felt about the business school. This helped my story gain another voice and perspective on this important and timely issue.
I also created a simple, anonymous Google survey that I sent out over my Instagram. I wanted to gain insight from students of color who were attending the business school and see how they felt about their feelings and inclusiveness of the business school.
My last resource came from a representative from the business school itself. Bethany Crowell helped me gain insight into the business school’s demographics. The numbers were not surprising but it was still startling and interesting to look at in comparison to other departments.
I felt like these were the best sources because they were the most timely and relevant. Paredes-Pozas’ voice was very helpful in adding a student perspective, as well as the anonymous Google survey. The graph added an important element to the story because it helps the reader see what I was trying to tell. Without the graphs, I don’t think my story would be the same.
I didn’t encounter any obstacles but I did have to scale back some of my writing in my draft because I felt like I went into too much detail. In some of my Google surveys, there were some names that students had been called which I decided not to put in my story. I decided not to because the words are very hurtful and not nice to say. I don’t think I’ll include it in my blog because of how derogatory and mean those words are.
The pandemic did not pose any problems for me but I felt that it was easier to conduct one of my interviews on Zoom. This was easier because it allowed me to be remote and it was convenient for my interviewee.
I initially wanted to focus the story around myself and explain how I felt about the business school. I wanted to explain my true feelings and hopefully take some sort of action. I then thought it would be better to capture the audience’s attention by deciding to focus on how the business school is helping students of color and how it is meeting the diversity and inclusion needs.
Something that I learned about myself during this process and was surprised about was there are a lot more students who feel the same way that I do than I initially thought. Aside from being a part of First Ascent Scholars, I’ve never felt like I was included or felt like I belonged at the business school. Moving forward, I would like to have a conversation about improving services and the atmosphere so students like myself could feel safe and accounted for. I also learned that I write best when I write without making any revisions. I write everything down, which helps me retain information and keep a nice, steady flow.
Overall, I enjoyed this process of interviewing and collecting resources to write a story on an issue that is important to me. There were many times throughout the writing process where I got stuck and it taught me how to be patient and let the story come to me. Writing has always been something I love to do but when I bring in a sense of reality and can relate to my topic, I connect with the story on a different level.
Hello! My name is Jhareil Hutchinson, currently I am a second-year student at the University of Utah. I plan to major in Marketing and pursue a journalism emphasis. I am a first-generation African American student, learning and applying my knowledge to the ever-evolving world around me. At the U, I am a part of the First Ascent Scholars Program, which has helped me continue my education and gain professional experience.
I have always loved writing; it brings a sense of relaxation and voice to my mind. One of my favorite topics to write about is mental health and racial justice. I am passionate about uplifting voices that may be undermined and also learning about what I can do to help those who are helpless.
One of my biggest inspirations is Kobe Bryant who said, “The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.” This quote is very special to me because I look back on this quote when I feel stuck or lost in terms of an assignment for class or for life.
As for the future, I am not sure what it holds but I hope it will come with a lot of success and growth opportunities. I hope to graduate in the spring of May 2024 and find a career that is not only thrilling and fulfilling but full of success and growth opportunities!