Customs week was a heavy experience to say the least. It was the first time that I came back to Haverford’s campus following summer break, which for usually involves a lot of family time, reading and thinking. Coming back after a long break and being hit with so many familiar faces at once was somewhat overwhelming. Being around freshmen also gave the campus a new vibe, shifting dynamics around like clockwork. I felt my place at Haverford had changed, with new responsibilities and priorities because I knew that I would have a strong impact on my customs group during the upcoming school year, as both a PAF and a model of a Haverford student.
I felt this responsibility even more so through the training that PAF’s and customs folk received concerning diversity and religion. I believe that my cultural background is unique to the college, as a Muslim American who grew up in a ridiculously diverse area of Brooklyn and who’s parents are both from Pakistan. During a PAF training on diversity, I remember talking about my experiences in public school, which immersed me in a mix of Eastern European, Latino, East Asian and South Asian students. I think that because of my upbringing, the perspective that I have to add is meaningful and influential to the conversations that I will have with both my customs group and the Haverford community as a whole. I think that after this intense week of attending programs and meeting faculty for training on the topic of multiculturalism, I’ve learned that I have a responsibility to voice my perspective towards a collective narrative of diversity.
Taha Ahsin, ’14 – Peer Awareness Facilitator (PAF)