Rehnuma “Ren” Majid currently attends Virginia Commonwealth University, which is one of the largest public institutions in the state of Virginia. She was born in Bangladesh, but has been raised in the States since the age of 2. Ren has quite literally lived in the same town her entire life and has loved it. “I’ve had the small town experience, but have a love for the big city as well.” says Rehnuma. Late nights and being constantly on the move is definitely a lifestyle she enjoys. Her education places an emphasis on the sciences, but she has a great love for the arts and loves painting! Ren considers herself to be an activist, idealist, and a person willing to give a helping hand when needed. Key words: Peace. Love. Unity.
ASIANCE: Why did you choose your school?
Ren: It was far enough away from home, that I could learn to live on my own, yet cost effective.
I wouldn’t say there was anything difficult about being Asian American, but being the specific kind of Asian that I was.
ASIANCE: What is your major?
Ren: Biology and Sociology (dual degree)
ASIANCE: What will you be doing once you graduate?
Ren: Not 100% sure, but I’m looking to teach abroad for some time before settling back down in the states.
ASIANCE: What clubs or extracurricular activities did you enjoy? If Asian specific, why did you choose to join?
Ren: I work with international students as part of my on campus job, so I really enjoy anything to do with those kids. They’re all really sweet. As for clubs, I am the community service chair for our school VSA(Vietnamese Student Association). I applied for the position mostly due to the insisting of a good friend of mine, who is actually one of the officers. I am not Vietnamese, but I wanted to be a part of one of the larger school clubs and meet a lot of new people.
ASIANCE: What do you look forward to the most about graduating?
Ren: I look forward to starting my life outside of school. I know many believe school to be a safe haven, and often don’t wish to leave it. But I’m ready to embrace the uncertainty and work hard despite any/all challenges.
ASIANCE: What will you miss about not attending school?
Ren: The close and immediate circle of friends. Once everyone is graduated, it won’t be so easy to visit one another or grab a quick bite to eat. That might feel lonely at first.
ASIANCE: Was there another school you wanted to attend?
Ren: I initially wanted to make a huge leap, and leave the east coast, and perhaps, attend a school in California or even out of the country. But I took finances into account and immediately discarded that plan.
ASIANCE: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ren: I will most likely be living and working in either the DC or NYC area.
ASIANCE: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ren: I know some of my friends have a 10 year plan….But I just can’t see that far ahead quite yet. But I know I’ll be content.
ASIANCE: Any significant accomplishments you would like to add during your time in college?
Ren: I have engaged in so many service activities and programs I feel were helpful to the city around my school. That made my college experience so much more worthwhile. I guess my largest, most recent accomplishment, would be working for the OFA campaign and assisting with voter registration in government subsidized housing districts. These locations are often looked down upon by the majority of the city, and people avoid having to go by there. But going door to door and spending days in the summer heat, simply speaking and understanding the background of these people was really eye opening.
ASIANCE: Looking back, would you do anything differently?
Ren: I’m still in school, so there’s still time to do more!
ASIANCE: Was there anything hard about being Asian at your school?
Ren: I wouldn’t say there was anything difficult about being Asian American, but being the specific kind of Asian that I was. I am not what Western society would deem to be “Asian” looking, because I am not Japanese, Chinese, or someone of another East Asian background. I am Bengali American. Brown. Desi. And that, right away, lumped me in with a group of people.
However, I am personally very social and had no trouble making a diverse group of friends. So my college experience was not too difficult.
ASIANCE: What advice would you give to girls who are looking at colleges right now?
Ren: I would say….Don’t follow your friends. In a few years, you will most likely not be in touch with most of your high school peers. And following a group of people to a particular college is no guarantee everyone will be “best friends forever”. Your time in college will change, shape, and mature you into a different person. I would say follow your dreams and pursue a school with the mindset of receiving a good education. Work to better your future and surround yourself with others who are motivated to succeed and give back to the community. That’s a positive circle of people to be around and in the end, you’ll be much happier for it.