How Will I Be Perceived As A Black Girl In The Ivy League?

by Mali Dandridge
Also Featured on KCBS

How Will I Be Perceived As A Black Girl In The Ivy League?

by Mali Dandridge
Also Featured on KCBS
04.20.18
Mali Dandridge is headed to Brown University. (Photo credit: Pablo De La Hoya)
04.20.18

I recently got admitted into my top choice college, Brown University. But then a new anxiety set in: how I will be perceived as a black girl in the Ivy League?

I’ve had experiences of feeling slighted. Like, once, a classmate told me that I was only elected as a student leader for diversity’s sake, not because I was actually deserving. Or another time, a teacher assumed I was studying for general chemistry, when in fact, I was enrolled in AP.

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is wrong in these moments, taken on their own. But when you add them up — and they happen all the time — it builds to this sense that I don’t belong. And that’s my worry: that getting into Brown, one of the top achievements of my life thus far, might be diminished by professors who don’t take me seriously, or classmates who assume that I didn’t earn my place.

My own experiences have given me some discouraging insight into how I am sometimes seen. I hope I’ll able to change these perceptions of me by sharing my thoughts and proving my worthiness, even though I shouldn’t have to.

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