In light of Brown’s transition to online learning, the U-FLi Center will be sharing narratives from the Class of 2020. We aim to affirm and honor graduating students’ time at Brown. Read about Melissa Antonia Perez (she/hers) below:
What does it mean to you to be U-FLi?
“Yo vengo de todas partes, Y hacia todas partes voy: Arte soy entre las artes, En los montes, monte soy.” – José Martí To me, being U-FLi is about achieving, striving, and preserving for something bigger than myself. It means bringing so much to every table I am a part of, not only my voice, but also that of my family, their histories, and our stories. Quiere decir que vengo de todas partes because I carry a multiplicity of origin stories. I’m not just a student from Miami, I am from a family of Cuban immigrants, the first in my family to attend university. Hacia todas partes voy, bringing my origins to new horizons. Being U-FLi is my pride, my honor, my privilege.
What communities at Brown have been influential in making it feel like a home?
It took a really long time for Brown to feel like home, and it took good friends and professors to get there.
Advice you’d give your first-year self?
I would tell my first-year self to seek out resources and worry less about finding friends– the real ones will come eventually!
Favorite memory at Brown?
One of my favorite memories at Brown was the first snowfall of my first year. I’d never seen snow before, and I remember all the students of Pembroke campus running out of the dorms. Snowball fights erupted everywhere, holiday music was blaring from invisible speakers, people were slipping on the snow and laughing all over the place. It’s a memory that always reminds me of that magical, floaty, first-year feeling.
Who are you away from Brown/outside of the student identity?
Alongside the student identity, I am a daughter, niece, grand-daughter, sister, cousin, girlfriend… All of these aspects of my life are just as important as my student identity. Realizing that I would never –could never– be just a student was one of the major lessons I learned whilst at Brown. I try to do justice to all of these roles, to value and appreciate my loved ones as they deserve, and to remember that the most important lessons in life are loving and being loved.