“If it doesn’t really affect me, I don’t really care.”

I wish I can remember who it was that told me that because those ten words have had a huge effect on me.

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Growing up, I don’t remember a time in my life where I liked to share important details about myself…where I voiced my opinion regarding the things that mattered. I was never the kid in class to volunteer to speak up or have the loud voice in a large group conversation. I didn’t think that being completely open and vulnerable with people or sharing my thoughts were all that important. I was just the type of person that went through the motions. I was just the type of person in high school that had a small group of close friends, focused on school, and participated in just a few extra-curricular activities here and there. I did what I had to do and that was really it.

In one of my last few English classes during my senior year of high school, my teacher asked us all to come up with a six-word memoir that described us. This made me really reflect on my high school experience.

Nothing really stuck out to me though and that’s when it hit me: Don’t want to be another face.

Coming into the University of Washington, I knew I wanted to have a different experience than I did in high school. But UW was just so hugeeeeee, I didn’t even know where to start. I just I knew I wanted to meet new people, make new friends, and know more about the things going on around me.

I wanted to care. I wanted to be more than just another face.

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Alpas (v): to break free, to break loose

When we were choosing the theme for this year, this stood out to me. It’s a verb. It’s dynamic. I feel like it’s so cliché, but I can honestly say that being a member of FASA last year has changed me: how I see myself and how I see and understand the things that happen around me.

The people I met through FASA made UW feel so much smaller; in a good way, of course. I had a struggle going to the meetings  because they were so late, and I commuted to school, but I remember last year I kept coming back because of the people (: I remember that one officer that called me out because we had a class together (hint: it was the academics chair last year ;)); and that one time someone in the FASA Frosh Squad chat on Facebook approached me at a meeting and said “Hey, you’re in the chat but I don’t think I know you. I’m ____”.

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The events and corners and conversations that were always going on in FASA meetings made me want to be more aware of issues and things going on and educate myself (mostly because I didn’t want to be the only one not knowing what the conversation was about, but it worked!)

My experience has made me more open, more woke, more conscious. I feel more comfortable participating in larger conversations and just talking to people in general. I feel more aware and more of the important things going on and more willing to educate myself even if they don’t affect me personally. I feel more conscious of my actions and the importance of the things I have to share.

Now here I am, one of the officer for one of the oldest, largest cultural rso’s on campus. Haha whatttt?! I broke free from my comfort zone and broke loose from just going through the motions. Although that’s true, there’s still a long way for me to go. So, I hope that y’all will continue to alpas with me <3

 

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Find out more about Leanna and her position here!

What’s your FASA story? #alpas