Welcome to Living Being
by Leeds student Jamshaid Karim
The Living Being project is based on the desire for more representation for minority (or otherwise) students. I was inspired to create Living Being (a play on the word Human Being) based on the ‘Humans of New York’ Instagram page — which gave an avenue for people to speak about the struggles/celebrations/trials in their life. For Living Being — the pursuit is for students to talk freely about their experiences whilst being at university or their journey to university.
The format for Living Being is based on an anthology series — with each series consisting of 5 stories. So far, this has been successful with series one, quickly gathering five exciting and diverse stories. I have spoken to many students, which I would not otherwise have got the opportunity to; and this has been an overall enriching experience. I was oblivious to the immense talent and diversity in the student body at the University of Leeds, with many students I spoke to being really passionate about a range of topics from: struggling to adapt to a new country as an international student to LGBT+ issues to identity clashes.
For the most part, I was able get students on board mainly from word-of-mouth and circulating the poster, which was created by a friend (shout out to Will). I am humbled by the amount of help I was given for this project, and I alone would not have been able to get as many students on board as I have done. Previously, I was Hate Crime Support Ambassador for the union and through support from the Union’s marketing team (shout out to Hannah) and the rest of the ambassadors I worked with, I was able to get the ball rolling; and from the friends I made through this role I was able to spread awareness to more students.
The Leeds University Union’s blogging space, Medium is the platform I chose to get student experiences to be heard. Blogging is a very natural way, I feel, to write down your feelings in a constructive way — with blogging essentially being a 21st century revamp of diary entries!
Being the editor for the first series of Living Being has taught me much about the complexities and intricacies of the student story — with stories addressing concerns students face and the barriers placed in the way of minority students to succeed in the 21st century. I hope that Living Being diversifies over time and recruits more students to write about their experiences, knowing that their peers will have an enhanced perspective about the experiences told here.