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Perseverance and Pain by Guled Said

Guled Said is the Foundation’s Communications Intern this year.  He is a senior at Hamline University majoring in Communications.  Guled was awarded the Eddie Phillips Scholarship for African American Men and is chair of Hamline’s African Student Association. When he’s not at school, at his internship, or at his job, Guled enjoys playing basketball, reading, and spending time with his family.

Perseverance is not for the weak and 2020 has taught me that well. With the world facing a pandemic and revealing the unjust ways of living for some throughout the world, I am thankful to have a support system and the resources around me to succeed and make this journey through 2020 easier for me. I have been able to find the help I need and get the tools in order to successfully pass my classes and be on pace for graduation.

 As a person, I find these times troubling. Of course none of us have been through a pandemic or probably been through a year like 2020, but it has been difficult to see these disparities in my neighborhood. I have always been a student who commutes to school, which would mean leaving my home early in the morning and returning home late at night. While I get precious moments to enjoy my time at home, I keep in touch with the people that I have grown up with and their families.

Perseverance seems like the only mindset that most people have when they face adversity in my community and it can take a toll physically, emotionally, and mentally. While I am focused on my education, I am also in charge of providing for my family and being the role model for my siblings as I am the oldest out of five. I have noticed that I have minimal room for error and I have to look and be strong when I simply feel down. I have been blessed with the opportunity to go to a four year university and get a chance to be successful after I graduate, but perseverance as a student versus perseverance as a person have been two different battles that I hope to win.

            This year has transformed me into taking self-care seriously and listening to professionals. There has always been this stigma that self-care is considered “weak” by other male peers and I have found that to be false. As a young black man trying to navigate a world where the color of your skin can be a death sentence, I have been aware that the video footage of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd can trigger some trauma. I thought I could work through my problems by working hard and focusing on everything else, yet neglecting myself when in need of help. I realized that the people around me were not there for me, but they were with me because of my potential, which was conflicting to understand. I decided to let go of some friendships and gain a sense of self love in order to successfully reach my goals.

            Becoming successful has always been a part of my life, but in order for me to become successful, I have to take advice. I always listened to my elders as it was never a problem for me, but taking advice from my peers seemed like a detour in my personal goals. This past year I have started to listen to what my peers have to say whether it was positive or negative feedback. If I was given the opportunity to listen to my future self about 2020, I would have been more prepared as ever. I would be more careful about who I am around and being attentive to my well-being. I would not know how to prepare for pain, but I will have to understand it is a part of life. Although 2020 has ruined a lot of fun plans and a great summer, I believe that this year has built me to become stronger in my journey through life.

Phillips Family Foundation

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