Written by Hydeia Wysinger ‘25
As I have grown up in our world, my outlook on life has drastically changed. Oftentimes, it is easier to avoid a problem. What is the point of fighting for something when it appears hopeless? Spending hours problem solving can feel exhausting, especially when it seems that no progress is being made. At that moment, it feels much easier to give up and stop trying. However, when one does persevere, the growth and new perspective gained is invaluable and exciting.
At a young age, my family stressed the importance of education and how it would make a difference in my life. One of the many people who stressed this point was my father. He encouraged me to follow my educational dreams as long as it made me happy. This memory stays with me and reminds me of the value of education and its life-changing effects. However, when I was six years old, my father passed away from cancer. This was the earliest problem that I faced in my life, which later became an opportunity for healing and growth. Of course, I was saddened by my father’s death, but his death allowed me to honor his memory by continuing to pursue my education.
In honor of my father, I always worked hard to discover my passions in life both academically and socially. I believe that I was truly able to find my passions in high school. I attended Holy Names High School (HNHS), an all-girl school in Oakland, California. Attending HNHS allowed me to explore what it meant to be a woman of faith who is intellectually competent and committed to personal growth. I had and took advantage of various leadership roles and extracurricular activities. The top three leadership roles in which I addressed problems as opportunities were through Campus Ministry, the Peer Mediation Program, and Black Student Union. During my time in Campus Ministry, I learned and explored where faith and knowledge intersected. I enjoyed hosting faith-based events and witnessing our campus community join together. As the Campus Ministry Core Leader of the Faith and Justice Committee, I worked with various community partners and worked to create a society that is equal and equitable for all. One of my favorite projects was working with students of varying religious backgrounds. My main goal was to ensure that all students felt heard, seen and supported on campus. I implemented a system that allowed students to talk about their religions and special holidays during the daily morning announcements. As a Peer Mediator, I guided students through the conflict resolution process and fostered a way for students to see conflicts as opportunities for growth. In my senior year, I served as the president of the Black Student Union. This role was especially gratifying because I hosted monthly town halls between students, faculty, and staff to discuss issues that affect the Black community.
As I continue throughout my academic career at SCU, I have the opportunity to serve in a plethora of leadership positions and extracurricular activities. As a double major in Psychology and Public Health, with an emphasis in Health and Society and a double minor in Religious Studies and Political Science, I am constantly finding new ways to fulfill my passions of education, leadership, and service. I participate in the LEAD Scholars Program, which is a support program that aids first-generation college students to seamlessly transition from high school to college. Next year, I will be serving as a LEAD Seminar Peer Educator, where I will assist the next class of LEAD Scholars with their transition into the SCU community. I am a student assistant in the Religious Studies Department, member of the Inclusive Excellence Student Advisory Council, first year representative of Igwebuike (Black Student Union), and member of Together for Ladies of Color (TLC). I also serve in various Campus Ministry clubs and activities such as College Catholics, a mass lector, her life His Glory Bible Study, and Spiritual Life Community. Recently, I finished a fellowship at Northern California Innocence Project through the Ignatian Fellowship. Serving as the undergraduate representative of the Campus Safety Services (CSS) Advisory Board has greatly influenced how I view problems as opportunities to bring communities together. Being able to help bridge the gap and reestablish the trust between students and Campus Safety is truly an indispensable opportunity. This opportunity empowers me to address challenges because I know that I will be able to overcome them with the support of my SCU community.
All in all, I believe that problems in the world are great opportunities for growth. Having a variety of experiences equipped me with the knowledge to address challenges I may face in life with perseverance, patience, and faith.
Hydeia Wysinger is a first year student at Santa Clara University majoring in Psychology and Public Health with an emphasis in Health and Society and minoring in Religious Studies and Political Science. She is a first-generation college student and is a part of the LEAD Scholars Program. She serves on various committees, holds leadership positions, and enjoys opportunities to ensure that Santa Clara University is a place of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.