By Alyssia Bell, IDEC fellow
I am not Drake, who once said, “No new friends, no new friends, no, no, no.” I, for one, happen to love making new friends, especially when we have similar interests and passions. Finding people to connect with who understand your drive and passion in life is hard, and coming across a cohort of kindred spirits is rare. Through IDEC (Increasing Diversity in Environmental Careers), I have met some of the most outstanding and inspiring individuals.
These individuals in my cohort bring me laughter, motivation, hope, and inspiration. We have created our own group chat to encourage one another and share pictures of our fur children. We send love and joy and sometimes gripe about our course load. They get me, and I get them. We all have similar passions regarding life and the environment and have in-depth conversations for what can seem like days. Sometimes we share the adversity we’ve overcome, and I feel more and more connected to each person. I find myself looking up to my cohort even though I’m the second oldest in our group. They ground me, remind me that life is a learning experience.
We all get lonely and experience a feeling where no one understands us, and I am no exception to that. Sometimes I find myself sitting at a table full of people and not being seen, not even heard, but with my cohort, I feel seen and heard by these beautiful, fantastic people. I feel like I can breathe and be myself and nerd out about science and the environment with no judgment. I feel like I can just be me, myself, and I while surrounded by individuals from different walks of life, who attend various colleges and universities, of differing ages and feel complete. IDEC has allowed me to connect with people I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to meet, and now, they’re my squad.