Step aside Humans of New York because Humans of DUSA is officially here! Derived from the digital storytelling phenomenon and themed around belonging, our DUSA peeps have shared their stories with us and we’re here to share it with you. From stories about themselves to crazy stories and experiences that have changed their life, read about their journeys below…
“Belonging has always been a strange experience for me. I think there’s a lot left unsaid or unnoticed about the experiences of disabled or chronically ill people and the ways we find our community. I can’t speak for everyone, but my high school experience was less than flexible and engaging. Frequent absences and focuses on hospital stays, physio, and pain management, rather than the things teenagers find themselves interested in, left me so mature in some contexts, but missing the experiences for self-discovery and growth these years provide.
I felt adjacent to the schooling community, rather than a part of it.
I think university changed this for me – and that’s not to say that it was the answer – ableism, misunderstanding of other people’s life experiences and judgment is common. This is to say that university brings together a much bigger range of people at I’m much bigger range of places in their life. There was life experiences other students had and maturity that high school students just don’t have there is also the opportunity for socialisation out of the classroom, I mean I actually don’t attend any physical lectures on campus, but I’ve found community through clubs I’ve been a part of, through online communities, through various volunteer programmes; and I’ve met people working full time, parents, and many people, who like me, live with a chronic illness or disability.
I think my form of belonging looks different to some people, my fatigue is so bad sometimes that I can’t get out of bed, and so the way I connect with people is different. I think we need to remember that this can be true of all people the way that we show up and the way that we belong changes based on who we are and the circumstances of our life and given a lot of us can’t meet in person as much currently, I’d urge people to think about how they’re fostering belonging and inclusiveness for people who might have different ways or capacities to show up”.
“My journey with DUSA began when I started at Deakin University in 2018. After a solid week of attending O’Week parties, I signed up as a Gold Member, pretty much just for the jumper! I loved the events I attended but I wasn’t too involved with DUSA during the year, and honestly, I wasn’t putting much effort into socialising or getting to know people outside of my classes (I was too stressed trying to get my head around my course)!
I started at DUSA in February 2019 as an Events Intern on a 9 month contract, which has now turned into one and a half years. I’m now nearing the end of my course, a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Journalism, but I was always fascinated in the world of events. I saw the job posting while I was looking for an internship, and even though I wasn’t studying events, thought I would give it a shot and apply as it would be the perfect opportunity for me to discover both pathways.
In this time, I’ve worked on two OWeeks, countless themed week events and now many online events and virtual trivia nights. I’ve gained so much experience and confidence in the workplace and within myself that I never considered I would get to experience during my degree.
Working at DUSA and being part of a community I wouldn’t have been involved in if I stayed in my comfort zone (running from my classes and getting home as soon as I could), has been the most amazing experience. I’ve met, worked with and become friends with so many people with completely different backgrounds and study pathways, and I’m so proud and lucky to be involved in this community.”
“In July of 2018 I started my journey at Deakin University as a wide-eyed first year international student. To be honest I’d like to say I was immediately at home, felt comfortable, and had heaps of friends, but that would be anything but the truth. As I’m sure a lot of international students have experienced, I was honestly both super nervous and excited, but there was also a certain fear of a new culture and the lack of familiarities in my surroundings. The familiarity of the Deakin Residence community and the many support facilities DUSA provided helped me heaps in adjusting to my surroundings, but I still felt a need to integrate further into my new community and culture.
Little did I know this would all change when I joined my first club, the Deakin Esports Student Association. The first event I attended was the weekly gathering, which I expected to be just a small gathering of 5 or so avid gamers. Boy was I wrong. When I first entered the room, I found it bustling with 30 or odd people from all walks of life and diversity, who were all chatting loudly, eating pizza, or just vibing. This may sound cliché, but I truly found a place to call home during my time at Deakin. From that base, I became president and met a ton of other people, got passionate about improving student life at Deakin, and was elected as a student rep. I know it sounds daunting as it certainly was for me, but the number one advice I can give to a person who in my position, is to not be afraid to get out there and join communities you might be interested in. Who knows? It might change your life as much as it did mine”.
“My four legged therapist. When the going gets ‘ruff’, the ‘ruff’ gets going. The pandemic has forced many people to stay at home. This means that people are spending more time with their pets and our paw friends might be wondering why? Being at home offered me with a great opportunity to spend some good quality time with my harmless, lovely little girl ‘Ruby’, a gem of Geelong. Our day starts with a snuggle, sharing breakfast, enjoying a bit of sunshine, giving her treats while I have my coffee, going out for a walk, digging in our plate and cuddling in together. When I was faced with the challenges of social isolation, job loss and health concerns, Ruby gave me companionship and helped me with combating depression and anxiety. She is a great listener and is able to pick up on my emotions and can help me work through troubling thoughts. Ruby is funny, whether drooling for food, hiding her bone, falling off bed, makes me chuckle and de-stress. Taking her for long walks is an excellent way to get some much-needed exercise and fresh air. I could not go through this ongoing pandemic without my four-legged therapist.
Ruby tip- When in doubt, snooze it out”.