This is my last column of the semester. When I first started this column, I had no idea how many people I would impact. Most importantly, I didn’t realize how much I had to say until I started writing.
I thought about how I wanted to end my column for the semester. As I leave to study abroad next semester, I will be leaving a great group of friends behind. When I had made a Facebook post that I was going to be leaving the states to study in New Zealand, a plethora of friends commented their support. These friends were ones that I had met throughout my time at the University of Connecticut in all aspects of my life, whether it was through classes, extracurricular activities or some other shenanigans I managed to get myself into on campus.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine a few weeks ago about the different groups of friends we have in our life and why we never bring all the people we care about into one space. For me specifically, that would be bringing my white friends and Asian friends together into a space to hang out.
As amazing as my friends are and how open they are about others, I think one of my main fears is the “what if” situation of them not being able to get along because they come from different backgrounds. Would I somehow have to act as a moderator for conversations? Would there potentially be some racial tension? What if someone says something that offends someone else unintentionally?
And then I realized that I need to chill out.
One of the best things that has ever happened to me on this campus is finding the variety of friends that I have from all different backgrounds. And they have certainly met others of varying backgrounds themselves. I did not need to worry if my friends would be able to get along. I really trust myself to surround myself with a great group of people in all aspects of my life and trust that they vibe together really well.
I think back to the cultural centers, specifically the Asian American Cultural Center, and how friendly everyone is. Most people that may not identify as Asian also come to the center as well and they are treated no differently than anyone else. The cultural center may seem like a big clique at times, but once you make the effort to step in and see how truly welcoming the space is, your perspective changes, as mine did. That’s what I want the friends in my life to experience and contribute to when they do eventually all get to be in the same space.
When I go to New Zealand, I’ll (hopefully) make another great group of friends. In the meantime, I’ll be writing all about New Zealand and taking my Asian American perspective abroad.
Kimberly Nguyen is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.