Everybody’s college experience is different. Some even drastically so. I sat down with Ume Ni, a transgender freshman business major, to see how her experience here at Hofstra University has been so far…
Michael Ortiz: How has your time at Hofstra been so far?
Ume Ni: It’s been pretty freaking amazing because no one gives me a second look.
MO: Do you think that you’ve had a different experience than most due to being transgender?
UN: Not really, I feel like I’ve been treated exactly the same as everyone else which is good because that’s the point.
MO: Do you feel that the LGBTQIA community is well represented and accepted here?
UN: Totally. It’s just so well integrated, no one gives anyone a second look here. It feels good when you can walk past people and they don’t stare at you.
MO: The dorm assignment you received was with those of your birth gender correct?
UN: Yeah. I don’t mind it but honestly, the only reason that is, is because I didn’t formally tell the school because my family is unaccepting.
MO: What is your dorming experience like?
UN: Absolutely awesome actually. Everyone is pretty laidback and they’ve all been so sweet…it’s been great.
MO: Would you be more comfortable living with those of the gender you identify with?
UN: Probably because it’d be easier but at the same time I don’t mind. I take up a lot of space in the bathroom and I take a while to get ready so in that sense, it’s actually more convenient.
MO: Do you feel that Hofstra has done its best to make sure that you are comfortable?
UN: Definitely because I’ve gone up to speak to my professors about calling me Ume. When they asked why, I told them that I am transgender and they just say ‘cool, no problem’.
MO: What advice do you have for other transgender undergrads who may be having difficulty adjusting?
UN: The main thing is, try not to care so much about what other people think. It’s going to be hard because you will get stares, but you need to be able to look past that and think of it as admiration, not disapproval.
It’s clear that Hofstra has given Ume a place where she can openly be herself without fear of ridicule or judgment. It’s important as members of this community that we be aware of the vast variety of people we share this space with. For those of having a hard time adjusting to the college life due to being different, it’s important to remember what Dr. Seuss once said: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”