OAC: Conversation with Aila Castane

Omoze Around Campus: Conversations Around Campus is a new series consisting entirely of conversations held with members of the VCU community. Omoze Oyofo, a marketing assistant for University Student Commons and Activities, will be conducting informal interviews with students, faculty, staff and other members of the VCU community every week. These interviews will feature, in the speakers’ own voices, the vast and varying opinions, beliefs and thoughts of our Ramily.


(Interview conducted on November 9, 2016)

Omoze: My name is Omoze and I am a marketing assistant for University Student Commons and Activities and I was wondering if we could sit down and have a conversation?

Aila: Sure, what do you want to talk about?

Omoze: Um, anything you want to talk about! We can talk about your day, the elections, homecoming, how you feel about VCU – literally anything.

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VCU students participated in a Mock the Vote Happy Hour for the 2016 presidential election.

Aila: I mean, it is the day after the elections, I feel like it’s kind of fresh on everybody’s mind, so we can talk about that.  

Omoze: Okay, what are your feelings on that?

Aila: It’s so weird, I don’t know, I feel really numb right now. It doesn’t feel real. I don’t know. I feel emotional, but I also feel numb about it, if that makes sense. I’m surprised, but I’m not surprised. I’m upset, but I’m also like whatever. So, I don’t know how I feel, like, I have all these polar emotions right now, but they are so polarized that I just end up feeling numb.

Omoze: Do you think this feeling is going to last for a while?

Aila: I don’t think the numbness will last for a while, but I feel like the feeling of “What do I do now?” will always be there. I feel like it will be translated to action, it won’t go away but it will shift into something else, if that makes sense.

Omoze: Shift into another emotion? Or shift into a different way of expressing the emotion of numbness?

Aila: Both, I think it will shift into another emotion but also the emotion will shift into action so it’s like: “Okay, well, I can’t be sad forever, so like what am I going to do now?” not for myself individually but as a citizen. “What am I going to do as a student? What am I going to do as a person of color? As a woman? As the child of an immigrant, what am I going to do?” So it’s kind of like I not only have to advocate for myself but I also have to advocate for all of the communities that coincide, all these identities that I feel like are now super vulnerable.

Omoze: And could you describe what kind of action you’re expecting from yourself, from your family, your friends?

Aila: Honestly, I don’t know, and I guess that’s kind of why I feel numb because I honestly don’t know what to do now. But I do know that it will pass as far as me feeling stuck, ‘cause I’m not the type of person to kind of be stuck in one emotion, you know I linger on it for a little while then, after that, I adjust it and I move on. But I do see myself being more, as if I couldn’t get any more, involved. I feel like I would be even more involved, not just in initiatives like in my community but just personally I feel like I’m going to be more outspoken about myself and be more of an advocate for myself. More ready to dismantle any conversation.

Omoze: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

Aila: I don’t know, that’s really the only thing that’s kind of on my mind right now.

Omoze: All right, well, thank you so much for talking to me. I really appreciate it.

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