Beyond Education

February 11, 2017

By Kayla He

For an international student, education means so much more than going to lecture or doing the assigned reading. Education means a conversation with a random person with a different culture on bruin walk; a time when you finally get an American joke and laugh with it, and the space to talk about sex and consent passionately.

Coming from a country where sex and consent is not openly discussed within the family and school, without any doubt, I was uneducated. No matter how impressive my GPA was; how many colleges I got into, I was uneducated. I did not understand the definition of consent, neither did I feel comfortable talking about sex. To be even more honest, I felt shy just to speak the word sex.

I was uneducated because I did not know not giving consent to my partner is okay. I was uneducated because I blamed myself for not being ready for sex and giving consent. I was uneducated because I was so convinced that I made a mistake by not giving consent hence caused the break up.

Until I am here. I am with Bruin Consent Coalition. I am educated.

It is funny that now I’m writing this blog and I don’t know how exactly did that education happen. Perhaps the education happened when I felt safe and accepted in the meeting. Perhaps the education happened when I never was and never would be judged based on what I said. Perhaps the education happened when I saw so many inspiring young women shine so bright without hiding their scars. Perhaps the education happened when I was loved.

Now, as an intern at Bruin Consent Coalition, I’m encouraged to think about my identity and privileges I have never thought about. And the intern experience makes me realize how much more I can accomplish. Every single minute of the meeting is filled with respect, empowerment, and realization. More than often, I find myself talking to my amazing teammates about the stories I only dared to write in the diary. With Bruin Consent Coalition, stepping out of my comfort zone becomes a phrase that’s not accurate; Bruin Consent Coalition steps into my comfort zone by showing its unconditional support and understanding.

One of my favorite quotes is “Once you awake, it’s hard to go back to sleep”. Because of Bruin Consent Coalition, I am empowered, educated, and loved. And I aim to spread this power, education, and love to the girls who are like the person I was a year ago. I want to tell them that, you are absolutely enough.