Saajidah Abideen, Peer Consultant

Image of Saajidah AbideenMajor: Biology

“Who are you?” I stared at the three words on my screen struggling to come up with anything. The poem was due that week and I was running out of time. I wrote multiple drafts but none of them felt right. I started to avoid it night after night like COVID. Funnily enough, the poem in question is something I still look back to today. For the first time I was able to finally articulate the internalized confusion I felt over my own culture, the definition of my own name, and who I was meant to be as a person. As someone who was brought up in two different religious cultures, I struggled with my individuality and as an Asian American who had come to terms with her mental health, especially in a culture that didn’t believe in such a thing. I struggled with being a woman in academic environments trying to learn how to assert myself without coming off “too strong”. It’s taken me a while to figure who I am, and writing became such an immensely important tool when facing my disorientation of my thoughts and exploring the most vulnerable parts of myself.

I’ve always put a piece of myself in my writing as I believe it makes my paper more real and personal; it becomes an extension of myself. However it can be a double edge sword. It takes not only practice to write your inner thoughts into comprehensive words but courage to show others and have them dissected. It’s a skill I find myself still struggling to master even as a peer writing consultant. I want to help students process their own thoughts and help them feel more confident as writers. Though I have more insight on who I am as a person, just like writing, it is a process that takes patience and time. With each appointment not only can I aid students figure themselves out, it’s a mutual exchange where I can also learn from you, my peers. I look forward to meeting and working with you on your writing journey!