Humans of UCR – A Celebration of Our Diversity

Inspired by the world-famous Humans of New York project, I saw no better way to contribute to the diversity theme of this Tabula Rasa magazine than to take up such a project myself. I have always been intrigued by the fact that this wonderful world contains over 7 billion unique humans. Blessed with a rich imagination, I am one of those people that can sit on a bench all day and be endlessly entertained by all the faces, personalities and stories that pass me by. I guess that is one of the many reasons that I chose a camera to be my fifth limb when I was about the age of twelve. I see such great beauty and life and diversity in those people that walk by, and it can make my heart ache to know that many of them fail to see that beauty for themselves. Therefore, in appreciation of our UCR student diversity, I present to you the result of randomly walking around our school buildings and talking to people. These are the people who pass us by everyday, all unique, but at the same time connected to each other and to you in a similar way. Now aren’t we just one spectacular mix of clumsy, confused, intelligent, funny, nervous, but most of all, beautiful people?

“I have to write a critique for the English Writing 200 level, and I’m doing it about Database Mining Problems. I have to hand it in today…”  “So what’s your opinion on Database Mining?”  “I haven’t read the paper yet. But that’s the thing with programming you know, I think that you either get it or you don’t. I feel like there is no grey area in between. I mean there are some people that get to a certain level and then just don’t know how to continue… But I think I managed to do it in the end.”



“Do you want me to send you the picture?” “Sure! I’m looking like the perfect student on there. I will send it to my mom!”


“This is my first Mensa shift ever. And I’m kind of stressed out, not because of the work here, but because I thought I had saved an essay but I can’t find it anymore. By now I’ve calmed down and kinda just given up hope. So now I can focus on how to make a mint tea. Do you first do the water and then the mint? Or first the mint and then the water?”


“Hey how are you! Do you want some nuts?”



“I come from the upper middle class in Pakistan, the people live in a bubble there. Most of my friends have never seen the other side of Karachi… I had a very inspiring volunteering experience recently where I interacted with girls from the poor parts of the country. They were being trained to become midwives. It’s ridiculous that women are still dying during childbirth these days. And then I have friends who complain about not being able to find a girl pretty enough for their brother to get married to… just stupid things you know! But it’s not entirely their fault for being raised in isolation. I was saddened by noticing the class difference. There were girls who, despite having studied biology in high school, couldn’t even name a single organ of the digestive system.”


“Every morning when I come to Elliott, the first thing I do is order a cup of tea and bring it outside. I just like standing there for a bit to enjoy my cigarette and think. It’s my morning ritual.”


“Do you by any chance know how to copy?” “No I’m sorry, I’m just here to take pictures.” “Ah shit.” “So… how do you feel about this… machine?” “Frustrated, at the moment.”


“So what do you want to talk about? I have opinions on everything. Look someone just send me this video of a male bellydancer and I just have to show it to you. Look at that! He can actually bellydance so well! How can hips do that??”

Gerjanne Hoek, Class of 2018, is a linguistics, politics and history from Bunschoten-Spakenburg, the Netherlands.

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