DJ, a non-binary student in Computer Engineering, has discovered comfort and community at Queen’s.

“I chose Queen’s because I really liked the atmosphere and community it provides, like how easy it is to see friends when everybody's on or close to campus. If you live more than a 10-minute walking distance, people say you’re in a horrible location, but in Ottawa-Carleton, where I’m from, it’s common for people to have an hourlong commute!”

They discussed the importance of community at university and how it can provide moral support as people come out or begin a new chapter in self-identification.

“It can get so dramatic in your own head, and it feels like, ‘this is such a shift nobody's going to bother to respect’. But, in reality, nobody cares. And if you just correct somebody casually, nine times out of ten they’ll fix it and move on with whatever they were saying.”




DJ found community in first year through groups like Queen’s Shift Project, which featured a presentation on nonbinary inclusivity, as well as Yellow House events. “EngiQueers is coming back in the fall and has super sweet socials to meet new people and reconnect with other queer students you haven’t seen in a while.” 

“People tend to divide,” they say. “Here are my friends I see in class, and here are the friends I see at home. And, when those groups bleed together, it's just absolutely beautiful. It’s easy to bury yourself in school but outside of class there are so many things to do to hang out with friends. I was a part of Stud-Co last year, I’ve been climbing at the Boiler Room over the summer, and I work at Clark Hall Pub which is fantastic. Through initiatives, clubs, and general extroversion, you’ll find your people.”

“I chose Computer Engineering because I really liked how universal the degree is,” they say, regarding the selection of discipline near the end of first-year study. “I found it brilliant that in first year you can explore everything before you choose. I would've been in Civil if I hadn't had the opportunity to interview a Computer Engineer and really explore the puzzle solving of coding. The best thing about it, though, is how, through the collective suffering, engineers will always be helping each other.”

“The people coming in and coming out of your life, and the way that you identify now might be not how you identify later. The clubs you're in now might not be the clubs you're in later. You can switch degrees. You can switch everything. I find with myself it's so easy to catastrophize and go, ‘This is the worst thing in my entire life and is the cause of all my problems,’ then a week later I don't even think about it. Just going with the flow is a very important part of learning in university and how you grow.”





This article is relevant to the following Strategic Actions as defined in the Strategic Plan:

sa-7-3   sa-8-3