By Kyra Dawkins
As a Black woman at an elite university, I wanted to ensure that I did everything I could to be respected. I feared that if I wasn’t polished and put-together at all times, people would jump at the chance to criticize, dismiss, or belittle me. So when I first arrived at Columbia, I fashioned a very small, tight mold of who I needed to become during my time here. I expected myself to be a workaholic, medical school-bound, power-suit-wearing force of nature. If I could hold myself to these standards, nobody would even think to underestimate or disrespect me, right?...