Being a Graduate Student of Colour

I remember spending hours searching for clinical psychology faculty across the country that matched my research interests.

Mental health in minorities & forensic populations.

I remember the cycle so well. It always started with curiosity: ’I wonder if there’s a place for me at [insert public university in Canada].’

Confusion: where is everyone? is no one interested in this? maybe I’m being too specific.

Desperation: come on. there must be somebody like me interested in other people like us??? it’s a pretty big school and they’re constantly advertising about diversity & inclusion. maybe I’ll try the other campus.

I oscillate between frustration & fatigue: my eyes are flooded with screen after screen of middle aged, white men. they’re interested in psychometrics, depression, anxiety, CBT. but there’s no mention of the populations I’m interested in. no South Asian studies.
Alright, I could settle for immigrants in general. no?
Okay…how about POC? I could just broaden my scope some more, right?⠀

Slim pickings.⠀

Scroll, scroll, scroll. ⠀⠀

Wait. A flicker of hope? excitement? idk but my heart rate goes up when I see that there’s one lady on this list that doesn’t look toooooo different from me!!!

Click.

A low simmering anger: ah. she’s not taking any students this year.⠀

•••⠀

It’s a familiar anger that’s still simmering.

Because not only is this just a snippet of what it’s like, it’s mild enough for me to feel comfortable sharing. ⠀

My experience as a WOC in grad school is not unique. And more importantly, it is STILL wrapped in privilege. Black Women face the worst of the white water of academia across disciplines and institutions. Instances of overt racism and discrimination are not spoken about enough because of the risks they face in sharing. In a system that tries to drown them, they are still expected to survive and to do so silently.

Published by theartofhina

Clinical & Counselling Psychology Master’s student based in Toronto. 
As a South Asian immigrant, WOC, and future clinician - I am committed to creating positive social change by advocating for mental health initiatives emphasizing cultural competence.

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