BLI has painted my last four semesters with colors I can’t describe or forget. I first took ALA 174 in my second semester of sophomore year. I started to be a Leadership Teaching Fellow (LTF) right after that in Fall 2021. Being in a team with all returning LTFs, I quickly felt like I had to work harder and run faster to pick up the pace. But then, the team made me feel like it was okay to take the time and recognize what I wanted to work on and what I was already good at.  The team would ask me questions like “Do you feel comfortable doing this?” or “What support do you think you would need?”. That, for me, was a genuinely safe space for me to grow. 

Without fail, the students I had the privilege of meeting and coaching every semester always shared with me that it is okay to be vulnerable. Through the weekly deliverables they submit every week, I learned more about them as a person and sometimes discovered a part of me I did not know as well. For example, a song a student shared they would listen to when they go on mindful walking is still on my playlist right now. A podcast one shared with me ended up becoming one of my favorites. I guess it was true that we are mosaics of people we have met. 

All this shows that it never hurts to share kindness and compassion with others. Those acts go a longer way than you thought they could. I have had multiple jobs on campus throughout my four years of college here, but being an LTF was something I will always hold dear to my heart because it has brought me closer to the people I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise. It has also taught me not to be so critical of myself and the importance of meeting people where they are. This may be the end of my time at the BLI, but not the lifelong connections and friendships I have made along the way.

Forever and always, Go Blue!

— Mas Razak (she/her/hers) is a senior studying Economics and International Studies with a potential minor in Asian Languages and Cultures (Korean Focus). Originally from Malaysia, Mas is passionate about minimizing social inequality in education especially within her own community. She is active in a few organizations working on education empowerment and student’s welfare here and in Malaysia. At the university, she is also an Outreach Fellow at the Nam Center for Korean Studies. In her free time, she enjoys taking pictures, going on road trips, and watching K-Dramas.