Academia can be a very complicated thing for many people, but especially for QPOC. The influx of new knowledge and ideas can help grow and shape communities. Unfortunately, QPOC students can often feel that their needs are not being met, or that they are being asked to deny certain parts of themselves in order to succeed. Often many of these institutions can replicate and emulate systems of oppression through their policies, and structures. That is why many marginalized communities came together to create spaces, in forms such as HBCUs and Women’s Colleges and Universities, where we can expand our knowledge but leave behind many oppressive policies and structures.
It can be easy for QPOC in academia to begin to determine their worth based on how well they are able to exist in, achieve, and meet the demands of these spaces. They are often expected to give all of themselves, while forsaking self-care, family and friends, and community in order to achieve. It is important to remember that our worth, our value, and the light and power within us is not determined by how much of ourselves we give up; that we can succeed, and even thrive in these spaces without having to wear ourselves out. Not existing in these spaces as oppressors expect us to is not a sign of weakness or fault, it is a sign of power — even our presence in many of these spaces is revolutionary.
So, in order to support QPOC students in our communities maintain the light and power within them during the time they spend in academia, we have gathered this list of resources. This is not by any means an exhaustive list. It is a starting point and a place for us to begin to think critically about QPOC self-care in academia.
This article by Shaunda Brown talks about the needs of graduate students of color and some ways to practice self-care during a time where many people, especially POC, feel as though there is not the time, energy, or ability to look after your personal well-being.
This list by Fabian Romero has shown up in our blog before. It’s a great resource to learn about some ways to practice self-care when you are around people with little-to-no world analysis.
While this list by Dom Chatterjee is not specifically about students, it does offer some pretty great ideas around social media. At a time where study groups, professors, and classmates use Facebook and other social media sites to stay in contact and share class information, it can be difficult to try to disconnect from the internet. While the internet can be a place of recuperative care for some, it can also be a place of violence and trauma for QPOC. It’s important that we be able to participate within these spaces while practicing self-care and minimizing the amount of violence you experience online.
This post is not specifically about POC, but can help some people know where to start when experiencing a mental health crisis and worried about trying to maintain their grades.
This is not an exhaustive list. It’s important to recognize that your self-care and wellbeing are important. Let’s make time to allow ourselves to heal from the spaces we occupy.