You Can Be a Storyteller - Kyrsten Arnold ('20)
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
“You Can Be a Storyteller,” -Kyrsten Arnold (‘20, Media & Culture)
Kyrsten grew up in Langhorne, PA surrounded by a big loving family and 12 cousins around her age. Growing up in an environment with endless support and affection, Kyrsten knew that she was lucky to come from a family filled with unconditional love and strong connections to their faith. While Kyrsten’s family life was almost picturesque, her childhood wasn’t a perfectly painted picture. Kyrsten, a proud African American, Latina, and female, soon realized that there were not many others that shared these identities in her hometown.
“Feeling different can quickly unfold into feeling lonely or isolated. I battled with those sentiments for years until I learned to dig into my weirdness, embrace my uniqueness, and wear authenticity with pride.”
It was a struggle to fuel meaningful connections with others that simply did not share the same ethnicity, background, appearance, and culture. The days where she found herself feeling a bit “too different” were when she felt extreme loneliness. Isolated by her identity and unable to fit the mold, Kyrsten knew that there would be moments where the pride she wore would melt into this sense of loneliness. In order to defy these sentiments, she rose above these clouded thoughts to reshape her perspective of self and rebuild her pride. With faith as the cornerstone of her being, she let Christianity be a part of her story. She says, “Christianity taught me to love and embrace the person I am today, and it continues to let that sense of acceptance beam light on others no matter their differences.” To this day, Kyrsten uses her faith every day to create a space that she can be authentically herself and embrace her differences because if everyone was the same, life would be boring.
“I tell my story to others in hopes that one day others too will share their story. Struggles fuel strength and those who take the time to listen and learn from others will find that their strength is unbreakable.”
Coming to Bentley University, Kyrsten knew that she wanted to help others navigate and embrace their differences. As a natural role model and mentor, she got involved on campus as a dedicated member of CRAZE, a Bentley Student Ambassador, and as a sophomore she was onboarded as a Resident Assistant for first year students. As an RA in Miller and Trees, Kyrsten was the first friend and trusted Bentley student of many new freshmen on campus. She used this position to foster an environment where her residents felt that they could be their true, authentic self. Fostering a community of acceptance, Kyrsten made it her mission to share her story and listen to others so that they wouldn’t slip into a feeling of loneliness. She says that her role was not just to lend a helping hand but to also lend a listening ear and a caring heart. For two years as an RA in freshmen dorms, Kyrsten told her story to help them build the confidence they needed to share their own stories.
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Self-love is the first step to self-acceptance and the first stride in embracing others.”
With a passion for storytelling and an equal investment in embracing identity, Kyrsten started a new YouTube channel called ‘To:WithLove.’ In each episode, a new set of individuals coming from similar backgrounds, share their stories and offer up advice to listeners. Kyrsten hopes to foster a sense of global community to connect others that share similar experiences. “Embracing our differences is key to accepting ourselves, but we are also stronger together when we recognize what makes us similar.” Cultivating a space with the foundation of empowerment and hope at top of mind, Kyrsten hopes to grow her channel beyond her years at Bentley to create a global collective that lives on for years to come. Kyrsten is interviewing black women about their past, present, and community in order to empower and encourage black girls, other black women, and black men. She has plans to tell stories of other identities including first generation college students for her next project and many more to come, all with the core message: you are not alone.
“To:WithLove is my next step in storytelling. From one population to another and from one population to the same, this new YouTube channel will be a platform to encourage others across the globe to discuss their struggles and their strengths within their identities.”