Student Starts Identity Conversations on Campus

Photo Credit / Julia Spanburgh
Kevin Gelok uses his free time outside his internship at the Gender and Sexuality Center to help students embrace their own identities.

Julia Spanburgh

Contributing Writer

What is your identity? How does an individual embrace their identity? Do we as young adults know how to embrace the good and bad parts of our identity? Senior Kevin Gelok sits down with students to talk about topics like this.  

Gelok is a psychology major and part of his internship, through the Gender and Sexuality Center, leads discussions with students usually on Thursdays around 5pm. These discussions start off with simple weekly topics and began the flow of the conversation. 

“Today we are talking about everything that makes you who you are. I’m not talking about the color of the skin or your gender but everything in-between,” said Gelok  

Gelok challenges the answers given during the discussion. Gelok played devil’s advocate making students dig deeper into reasons for the answers. 

Student started by going around and defining what embracing identities meant. Students found that many of their definitions conflicted with each other’s. Gelok finds that most people have different definitions for modern day terms.  

In the embrace your identity discussion, students talked about how hard it is to make people change and how to sustain change. As a group, students discussed trying their hardest to want the best for someone, but if they don’t want to change then they won’t fully embrace the help.  

Gelok then lead the conversation into the topic of accepting one’s own struggles and how students can embrace their own strengths and weaknesses. 

“You should also accept you will always be struggling, accept your flaw. You should be setting goals and standards for the way you want to live,” said Rashawn Harris said.

As the conversation came to an end, the vibe in the room was different changed from the when students initially sat down. It was like a weight lifted off the shoulders and there was more insight.  

“I believe these conversations help students, the entire point of all my discussions was to help people. Creating an environment where people can share their thoughts and experiences about topics most people experience but have a hard time talking about,”Gelok continued. “Helping people gain a little insight was a truly amazing experience.” 

Some other topics that Gelok talked about with students are things like body positivity and toxic relationships. This was a great space and student lead discussion to really open your mind and share your opinions and stories.  

Email Julia at:

jspanburgh@live.esu.edu

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