Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

“They didn’t tell me”

Courtesy of Tulane Public Relations

Courtesy of Tulane Public Relations

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There’s a lot of things that they didn’t tell me.

They didn’t tell me that I’d be one of only a handful of students who look like me.

They didn’t tell me that student of color representation was only 20 percent of a whole populous.

They didn’t tell me that the friends that I have already made would be the only people I would trust wholeheartedly for the next four years, with the exception of a few names that I could count using both hands.

They didn’t tell me that my professors wouldn’t look like me,

and that they wouldn’t understand,

not that they would care to.

They didn’t tell me that my name would never be pronounced right,

not even once in a whole semester.

They didn’t tell me that growing thicker skin isn’t a coping mechanism,

but rather a survival tactic,

and that evidently sticks and stones do break bones

and pierce through hearts in the process.


But there are a few things that they did say —

They said they saw something in me,

a light that could never go out,

But that light has grown dimmer now

and has become ten shades darker over the duration of my time here.

They said this was an amazing opportunity for me,

that I’d be going to school for free 

and that I’d be making my parents so proud.

I can’t help but wonder if that pride would diminish

or restore if they ever heard them say

all that they do about people who cross borders —

that they want to build walls to drown them all out.

They said they had the perfect solution to loneliness.

Ten friends, ten faces,

but what good are ten bodies

when together, are hardly considered one?


I’m riddled with insecurity and questions,

questions pertaining to truth.   

I wonder why they wouldn’t tell the true purpose of my presence —

I am not an addition, I am a necessity.

I wonder how I could be so fortunate

and unlucky all at the same time —

to be afforded an opportunity like this,

to live like this,

to be broken, bent,

and put back together



but broken nonetheless.


There’s a lot that they didn’t tell me,

and I’m finding out now.

They say ignorance is bliss,

but I refuse to remain ignorant.



13 Responses to ““They didn’t tell me””

  1. Nile on February 17th, 2017 12:03 pm

    YES. This is amazing, well written, and honest.


  2. Kaytan Shah on February 17th, 2017 1:26 pm

    Hey Kristen…very deep, and heartfelt! After the 45 countries I have been to, it reminds me of a saying after spending two nights in Bangkok, Thailand… a slice of life. What we witness and observe is a slice of life from an infinite pie…it took the emotion out and cut it with a practical reality…remember, overall humanity is good


  3. Bibi Yazd on February 17th, 2017 2:05 pm

    Completely beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time which is the perfect reaction to have to this. Keep writing.


  4. Praveena Fernes on February 17th, 2017 4:29 pm

    Beautifully written and emotionally resonant. Kristen, I am so proud to know you and have been your RA. Keep writing, keep resisting.


  5. Katia Leiva on February 17th, 2017 4:39 pm

    I completely agree with this 100%. I’ve never felt more out of place than I do at Tulane and nobody warned me of how that would feel. I never expected that a place so prestigious would be the exact opposite of what I was looking for. If I would’ve known last year how my experience at Tulane has been so far, I would’ve never chosen to put myself in this situation. You’re amazing though and luckily we have a handful of great people surrounding us. I just wish there were more. 🙂


  6. N on February 17th, 2017 5:04 pm

    So powerful! I felt like you spoke the words right out of my heard


  7. G on February 17th, 2017 6:57 pm

    Welcome!Welcome! to discovery, mskes you tough, lots of integrity. Realize the real enemy and wuite thought provoking…Loyola in 72 prior to no card readers…..
    Find more kind friends…way over my limit…
    Beantown at 20!!!???!


  8. Janet Ves'sells on February 17th, 2017 7:01 pm

    Absolutely amazing!! You make me so proud!! This is so deep and real love it


  9. Juharah Worku on February 18th, 2017 8:58 am

    I love this and you so much! Always speak your mind and write, its beautiful and helps so many people who sometimes cant find the words


  10. Derrick on February 18th, 2017 12:49 pm

    I love it


  11. Marilu Munguia on February 18th, 2017 5:44 pm

    Always write what you feel, from the heart and the truth as you see it. Don’t ever stop those beautiful words from expressing your deepest thoughts or concerns. You have held it in for so long that it is your time to share it. I’m so proud to know you.


  12. Concerned individual on February 19th, 2017 4:11 pm



  13. Concerned individual on February 21st, 2017 12:08 am

    this article should be renamed “First World Problems”


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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
“They didn’t tell me”