Contributed by
SAMMIE CASAS
2017 Bezos Scholar
Categories
Student Stories

Life “According” to the W Curve

How do you explain the culture shock of a new experience?

The W curve theory is a common example of adaptation. It’s a predictable pattern of stages that occurs when a person experiences a culture shock. It starts with amazing highs and then drops to hard lows, and then does it all over again.

I wish being a Scholar was as easy as the interpretation of the W curve. If you were to graph my experience as a Scholar, I’m pretty sure it would look more like a new language or the craziest rollercoaster ever invented.

My Local Ideas Festival (LIF), We Fight Fear, promoted maintaining Dallas’s sanctuary city status by educating and creating an advocacy platform for young immigrants of all documentation statuses. While my LIF was created to help others, I know it helped me the most. Every day it pushed me to my limit, sometimes it pushed my whole team.

Throughout the process, the moment that was the most transformative for me was my time in Washington D.C.

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My team and I spent a week in Washington D.C protesting the current administration's actions towards the DREAMER population and statements made to resolve DACA issues by January 19th deadline. I’ve protested before, however, a sit-in in Washington D.C. was a different ballpark. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what sport I was playing.

When we arrived at Capitol Hill, I felt the marble building’s history like lightening in my fingers. That tingling in the tips of my fingers soon changed to a twist in my stomach as we reached the first senator's office. More than 50 protesters and I squeezed into the small office space while chanting “Sin papeles, Sin miedo” (Without papers, without fear) at the top of our lungs.

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At first, I yelled too. But then the tears caught in my throat. DACA, something that seems so simple, maybe even just human to me, had to be fought for. While my chants were for my community and fellow classmates, the chants from my peers were filled with emotion for other reasons: lost family members, an indeterminable future, or simply their sense of justice. Behind every voice, there was a story.

If I was to follow a lifelong W curve, then I was definitely in a slump before my visit to Washington D.C. Through We Fight Fear and my trip to Washington D.C, I learned that the biggest message is the power of stories. Even though the gruesome facts brought our nation's leaders to tears, it was the stories that really hit home and made an impact. It was the story of a high school valedictorian losing her dad to deportation before her big day and the story of high school students terrified of losing their DACA-mented teacher.

Behind every big change in history is a story that sparked a revolution. We Fight Fear was born to inspire those that have the stories to change history.

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Contributed by
SAMMIE CASAS
2017 Bezos Scholar
Categories
Student Stories

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