Joriene Mercado, '18
Know history, know self, know mental health
I was back in a high school classroom in my hometown of Daly City, California, to facilitate a workshop for nine students about Filipino history, mental health, and ethnic identity. As I was leaving, one of the students said that during this workshop they learned about history in a way that they hadn't in an entire semester of their history class.
Throughout high school, I never had the opportunity to learn about or discuss Filipino history; I first learned about it through a student-initiated course at Stanford. And it wasn't until college, once I began to struggle with my mental health, that I took the time to even consider mental health. When I saw how the two intersected and influenced my ethnic identity development, I felt I would've been much better off if I had learned about mental health and my Filipino history in high school. However, I've been privileged to attend Stanford, and I hope to help high school students in my community by sharing what I've been fortunate to learn about.
In the future, I want to continue teaching our youth and ensuring that they can see themselves in what they're learning. Knowing one's ethnic history is critical for positive and complete identity development, especially during high school.
"Know history, know self. No history, no self."