“We Are UC” highlights the people who thread the fabric of the Utica College community. These profiles are written from the perspective of the subjects themselves.
Story by Whitney Morris, photo provided by Tyena Garcia
My name is Tyena Garcia and I’m a junior from Yonkers. I chose Utica College because after visiting a university nearby and seeing their large lecture halls, it honestly made my stomach drop. It was hard seeing myself in such a large university because I have always been use to small classroom sizes. When I came here, it was much more inviting and I didn’t feel that at the university. The admissions counselors were all willing to work with me and from Accepted Students Day throughout the whole admissions process, everyone was welcoming.
My freshman year was my favorite year as a student, but all my experiences up until now have been well worth it; I sometimes wish the school had more diversity factors or wish I had gone to a school that had funding in more areas, and larger programs within my major. UC is what I expected it to be when I started out here but I learned that no matter where you go, college is whatever you make it.
Currently, I’m a resident assistant, an ambassador, a sister of the sorority, SIA, I’m in the honor society for my major and an honor student. Previously, I’ve been part of the Resident Hall Association, the Black Student Union, Women in A New Direction, and Student Government Association. Being a part of all of these organizations has taught me to be accountable, work well with others, listen to ideas presented by others, and problem solving skills for when things don’t go as planned. Everything has helped to develop the leadership skills that I now have, which will help me in the future.
Time management has always been a struggle for me but just recently I feel like I’ve been getting a hang of it. You can always plan but things don’t necessarily have to go as planned and I feel being able to know that helps to become better with managing my time. What makes me feel most accomplished is setting goals for myself and actually reaching them.
In the future, I want to be a motivational figure for the African American community, but mainly for girls because I feel as females, we are always associated with negative connotations. Most of the time we don’t know how to beat these stigmas and say we are better than the negative beliefs associated with African American woman.
As for overcoming stigmas myself, I feel like college really helped with that process, although we have negative individuals on campus who always express negative views, that has only motivated me to be proud of who I am. I also had a professor named Katherine Silva who is no longer here but she really helped spark this fire. She taught me a lot about African American experiences that I wasn’t aware of before, so learning that has also helped me to overcome the stigmas people associate with me.
My ultimate goal is to become an immigration lawyer because I want to help people that have been struggling to get into the country. I understand that it is a big struggle so I want to be a spokesperson for those who aren’t able to speak for themselves.