Recently, the Library was pleased to welcome 10 to 15 student participants for Sessions Two and Three of a popular new series, Skyline Stories of Self-Fullness. At each session, personal counselor Perry Chen and library faculty Pia Walawalkar facilitated, asking what self-fullness means and how it differs from selfishness. They explained, “We can’t pour from an empty cup; we can best support others when we ourselves feel whole and complete.”
Perry and Pia also proposed community gathering norms for the conversations that would take place. Students enjoyed tea in the relaxing atmosphere of the Library.
The topic for Session Two was Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Perry and Pia began by sharing the impetus for the session. Students shared stories verbally, then in writing, filling pages of comments with thoughts about “the good, bad and ugly” of social media on an online jamboard. Conversations were lively and insightful, with students connecting around questions like how social media affects self-worth, self-esteem, and body dysmorphia.
The topic of Session Three was Discrimination (race, gender, sexual orientation, religion/spirituality, class, all the things). The participants recognized that prejudice comes in all shapes and forms, choosing not to categorize or list the many ways it shows its face. For example, Pia explained how she felt discriminated against even within her own family because of her culture’s preference for male children, illustrating that discrimination can happen not only externally, but also from within one’s community and those closest to us.
At this session, students created artwork and took time for journaling and poetry writing with material from the Library Outreach PIF grant (Play Doh, small notebooks, and art supplies). Students shared their feelings of discrimination by both their cultures of origin and their adopted cultures, as well as by people within their own race for being too “White”, from the “dominant race”, or for “not being White enough.”
Other forms of discrimination including gender, weight, and lifestyle also surfaced, with a common thread of loneliness and isolation on account of feeling “different.”
Before either session’s discussions could fully conclude, time was up! The series has so far fulfilled its goal of meeting students’ needs for a safe, creative space on campus with time to connect on these essential topics.
We encourage faculty to bring your students to Session Four, Wholeness & Wellness (Mind, Body, and Heart): The struggles of being ‘fine,’ at 11:00am, Wednesday, October 18.
Questions? Please reach out to Pia Walawalkar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Photos and names were intentionally not shared to respect participant confidentiality.
Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp