On Saturday, May 21, Kendrick Henson (B.A., Sociology ‘22) walked down the field at the Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium and became a proud Texas Ex. During his time on the Forty Acres, he was involved with numerous organizations including the Global Leadership and Social Impact Program, the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, the Heman Sweatt Center for Black Males, Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, the UT Austin chapter of NAACP and the Black Student Alliance.
What was one of your biggest challenges and how did you overcome it?
A lot of first-generation minority students say this, and it’s real: imposter syndrome was my biggest challenge. Eventually, along the way, I learned that not only do I deserve to be at this university, but I can thrive. I took advantage of every opportunity and slowly realized that if I had the potential to get into UT, I also have the potential to graduate.
How did joining student organizations help you combat imposter syndrome?
Finding individuals who come from the same background as me and have the same cultural interest has given me a safe space where I can operate without the stress of anything else in the back of my mind. All of these different organizations also allowed me to come across certain resources.
What is your favorite memory from your time at UT Austin?
The Heman Sweatt Center for Black Males just recently received a $750,000 grant from an individual named Martin Taylor. That was a big highlight from my time at UT because I’ve been a part of the center for four years. That money immediately impacted the students who are part of the organization, so it was great to see all the hard work and dedication we put into the organization come to fruition.
What’s next after graduation?
When I first came to UT, I wanted to be a pediatrician, and I started to realize I wanted to have an impact on children and the future. So, I got accepted to Teach for America and will be moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to teach social studies to middle schoolers. Later I’m going to pursue a master’s degree with the goal of earning a Ph.D.
If you could go back in time to your freshman year, what would be your best advice for your future self?
I would tell myself to simply not worry. You’re going to accomplish everything you set out to do. Just take it slow, drink some tea and enjoy every day.