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From Us in Charcoal: Stella

Meet Stella, Charcoal’s Web Director and the creative mind behind Charcoal Connect’s rebranding. Stella’s innovation behind Charcoal Connect derives from her experience and growth in valuing herself. Despite being an independent person, her logical skills and creativity effortlessly create connections with people in many ways.

“Where was I gonna be happy?"

Stella’s family migrated to the United States from Africa, a difficult decision, since it meant being the first to come to the US and start over with no help. Despite the hardships, Stella never felt pressured to abide by certain standards. Her family taught her about perseverance and the value of peoples experiences.

It was, however, expected for her to go to college, and being from an immigrant household convinced her that majoring in subjects that will give her ‘financial stability,’ such as Computer Science, was the best option for her. Financial stability wasn’t just for herself - obtaining that would also help her give back to her family. This mentality influenced her to focus on other people's opinions and decisions. This affected Stellas freshman year since it hindered opportunities to embrace her own interests. As she spent more time in college, Stella asked herself, “Where was I gonna be happy? What's the point of working at a job that I don't even like.”

Post COVID, Stella found herself appreciating her alone time and creating spaces where she could enjoy her time and energy. Now focused on valuing her interests and passions, she made her first major decision by changing her major to Sociology. Stella is a logical person but she’s also empathetic, so Sociology was the perfect major to continue to learn about others while having the evidence and tools to help understand them. Since this was one of her first major decisions, she thought it would make her family disappointed or mad. Unexpectedly, they believed in her intuition; her dad told her, “Make sure you are not doing it because you think you’re going to fail. Make sure you're doing it because it's just not for you.”

“I’m trying to take this international, because why not?"

Compared to freshman year, Stella has tapped into valuing her energies and is more aware of where to put them. At the same time, she prioritizes personal interests such as playing music, dancing around her room, and exhausting herself with personal photoshoots.

Stella’s self-awareness and self-love, is now helping her make Charcoal Connect a space for everyone to share similar experiences of growth, self-searching, or just life stories. Stella is set to use her position in Charcoal as a space not just for Charcoal members but everyone else; “I’m trying to take this international, because why not?”

Make sure to come back to read more, From Us in Charcoal.