Name: Shaunese Johnson
Random question: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? I would have to say green. When I think of the color green, I envision nature and being one with the environment. I always aim to stay grounded and be at peace within myself by creating art, writing, doing meditation, taking long walks, eating healthy.
Are you a bold introvert ? I now consider myself a bold introvert, but it took me years to be comfortable with my introvertedness. Throughout my undergraduate journey, I always believed I had to be extroverted to be even recognized especially as a black woman. Now as a graduate student, I embrace being an introvert because it allows me to see the world in a different perspective. I have always been a “blerd” (black nerd) and I recently rediscovered and enjoy hobbies I gave up throughout the years such as reading comics, playing video games, watching Marvel/fantasy movies, etc. Even though I’m not surrounded by a ton of friends, I tend to gain more meaningful connections.
What do you do? I’m currently a second-year graduate student in Student Affairs in Higher Education, and I have a graduate assistantship position in the “Office for Community Engaged Learning” working with faculty and students to obtain service learning, and volunteer opportunities within the campus community. In addition, I am also a childhood educator in an elementary school and summer program. During my spare time I’m generally freelance writing and have contributed articles for websites such as “MyBlackMatter.com” “TheMighty.com” “AfroPunk” and local publications such as the “PittsburghSource.” My writing focuses on various aspects such as racism, poverty, education and minorities, politics, intersectional feminism, sexuality, gender equality, self-esteem, mental health, and I’m currently conducting research on Afrofuturism and fantasy for African Americans and people of color. Links to a few of my articles can be found here:
What are you most proud of? I’m always working on becoming a better person and working for change in society. I don’t really have a defining moment yet, but I’m proud of completing my undergraduate studies and being one year away from completing my Master’s degree program. This summer I have an internship working with TRIO services with students who have disabilities, low incomes, and may be struggling academically in higher education. As I aspire to work in multicultural affairs and/or Diversity and Inclusion in higher education, I’m looking forward to connecting and learning about students of various identities, and marginalized communities to provide effective resources in my future endeavors.
Do you feel that your personality trait has helped you achieve your goals? With all honesty in some ways yes and no. It seems as if people draw closer to me because they feel a sense of comfort in my personality, as I listen attentively and definitely process everything before I speak. I remain non-judgmental, and if I don’t understand something I will ask them to help me understand or question myself as what I can do in a situation. However, I can be overlooked as I’m not the loudest in the room and on top of being a black woman, I also sometimes feel I have to work harder and creatively in an extroverted society.
What advice do you have for introverts that are worried about chasing their dreams? The best advice I could give is be comfortable with who you are as an introvert. Some people don’t and never will “outgrow” being an introvert and that’s perfectly fine. If it seems you can’t “find” a space, create your own universe and live within it, the right energy will be attracted to it.
Massive thank you to Shaunese for her contribution! Please go and show her some love!