This week’s #HumansofIDP are Ruju Dani ‘22 and Julia Timko ‘21. These two co-facilitate a dialogue about race this semester. Here’s what they have to say about IDP and each other:
This program has intensified my college experience since day one. It continues to give me the language and confidence to meaningfully engage with social topics that I’d otherwise avoid from fear of judgement. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is the power of critically reflecting on past experiences, which has been so crucial in unpacking the impact of my social identities. Every time I’m in an IDP space, I get a heightened sense that these social systems are existing whether I’m aware of them or not, so my drive to seek this awareness through IDP is my drive to live an examined life, encourage others to do the same, and practice better allyship. Over time, I’ve found a home in the IDP community and I can always count on my IDP family to inspire me to think deeper.
And I know “make the world a better place” is a pretty big dream (some might even say naive), but I think we’re in the business of dreaming big. I hope and believe that slowly and surely, we can make dialogue commonplace and meaningful communication a norm. And the outcome? A campus, and a world, of equity, dignity, and respect.
I took IDP my freshman year and started facilitating this semester because I honestly needed something to look forward to coming back to school for. I’ve found a lot of spaces on campus to feel superficial, and I think I was looking for a space where I could finally be genuine with myself and the people around me. It would be wrong to describe any IDP space as “comfortable”; confronting your biases and addressing conflict is inherently “uncomfortable”. But I’ve started to find some comfort in continuously learning and feeling this discomfort. I haven’t found any other classes on campus that have allowed me to grow so much. It’s taught me to empathize and think differently about the way I interact with others. IDP has shaped my personal goals and affects me every single day.
What is your favorite thing about your co-facilitator?
Julia has a constant and unsatisfied curiosity for the human story. I am amazed by how much she seeks this knowledge for herself, be it through memoirs and articles she sends me or asking questions to me and other dialogue participants in a way that shows that she really wants to learn from each and every person in her life. Julia strives to carry her whole self to sessions and meetings and I’ve never met someone who so much wants to grow and wants to bring those around her into this journey with her at the same time. And I’m really thankful that she challenges me to feel more empowered in my own story.
I couldn’t have asked for a better co. Ruju is honestly such a meme and we share the same (lame) sense of humor. She does a great job of breaking down my messy thoughts in ways that make other people understand them. She’s an amazing listener and has a unique way of acknowledging everyone’s contributions both within the IDP space and outside of it. She has so much more intuition about facilitation than I do, and after each session will debrief me on all the dynamics and interactions that I missed. She takes endless pages of notes during sessions and cares so much about the development of our students. Beyond anything, Ruju is just such a good friend. She’s always checking in on me and making space to accommodate what I need. I’m so lucky to be the person she sends her late night thoughts on systems of oppression and the cycle of socialization to. I’ve seen her grow so much even just in the last few months, learning to be more confident and advocate for herself, and I look up to her so much