At a large university, finding my place in smaller communities was imperative to avoid feeling overwhelmed or drowned out by the numbers. At the same time, it was also important to learn about the stories of the folks who shared the experience with me, and try fostering inclusive communities of my own within academics and my personal life.
In particular, learning about inclusivity and community-building in my course preparing to be an Honors Peer Educator has been the most influential learning experience about belonging thus far in my UW experience. Finally, taking time to break down and analyze the systemic influences on identities within our own communities, especially the student community, was incredibly valuable to me as someone hoping to one day serve as an educator.
Learning experiences are tightly bound to the notion of identity and belonging. Understanding this piece by piece through my time as a PE helped me dissect my own impact on identity-building and inclusivity within my own classrooms or circles, and motivate me to apply new tactics towards representation within my own field, especially BIPOC women in biology and ecological sciences as well.