Nita M. Halstead
Undergraduate Student in Psychology
Hometown: Harrisburg, Oregon
I am an activist dedicated to ending inequality and abuse.
Why did you choose UO? And what have you had to get used to in living here? I chose UO so that I could gain instruction from some of the leading minds in Psychology and, hopefully, join in the important work of documenting the effects of trauma, increasing public awareness of the dynamics of abuse, and developing effective prevention and healing methods. I have always felt at home in Eugene.
Who inspires you the most? Why? I am inspired by my daughter, Rachel—the bravest person I have ever known—who taught me the value of telling the truth, over and over if necessary.
What advice would you give to someone like you who is new to the UO? Or, what advice do you wish you had been given? Visit Student Support Services at 68 Prince Lucien Campbell Hall (PLC) as soon as possible to see if you qualify for services they provide, such as academic advising, individual tutoring (incredibly helpful for stats and math courses!), help with writing/editing papers, scholarships and other financial assistance, as well as referrals to a wealth of other resources. I can honestly say that I could not have gotten this far without them--especially without the amazing advice, support, and encouragement Jen Strong has given me.
What book do you think everyone should read? Everyone should read The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen. As a culture, we must do what individuals who have survived horribly painful experiences often have to do in order to even begin healing: wake up to the trauma in our past. As difficult as it is, we must do it. Only then will we consider taking appropriate action to radically change our future.
How do you think others see you? What don’t they see? What isn’t immediately apparent about what makes you unique? Other people tend to see me as strong, independent, and knowledgeable. What they don’t see is that it is my deep need for connection, my sense of my own vulnerability, and my awareness that I am mostly unaware that I draw from.
What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Or, what frightens you? The scariest thing I’ve ever done was facing my uncle at a family meeting when I was fourteen and being blamed for his behavior. It is the only time I remember feeling completely alone in the world.
Where do you find joy? What do you do to recharge yourself? I find joy in my relationships. When I need to recharge, I sit on a rocky beach in Yachats.
What continues to surprise you? I am still surprised at the extent of human stupidity and the depth of human resilience, not necessarily in that order.
What’s the thing you are most proud of in your life? I am most proud of the kind of mother I am, that I have navigated the fine line between fostering unhealthy dependence and creating strong interdependence, trusting my children’s wisdom along the way.