#HSIBelong – University of the Incarnate Word Students Celebrate Belonging with Class Assignment

September 23, 2022

Dr. Leslie Martinez, UIW associate professor of Psychology, teaches a “first-year engagement” course, which aims to promote the success of first-year students at the University. In honor of National HSIs week and in preparation of an upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month event at the University, Dr. Martinez tasked students in the class with a special assignment.

Students were asked to reflect on their time spent at the University of the Incarnate Word so far, and to answer the question – how do you know you belong on campus? The students were tasked with considering this question particularly as it relates to attending a Hispanic Serving Institution and their own unique identities. Students submitted the following entries:

Elijah R.

“During my first month, it was challenging to find my footing in college and set up routines, but now I find it much easier to maneuver around campus and find places to hang out because of my time spent walking around and getting my bearings. I know I belong on campus because of the peers I interact with during class. They help me feel connected to UIW by being very welcoming and friendly people to be around, which helps me feel like I belong on campus.” – Elijah R.

James W.

“I found my sense of belonging in the friends I’ve made here at UIW. Transitioning to college is a crazy experience but having a good support system makes it a whole lot easier.” – James W.

“My first month of college was very new, exciting, overwhelming, exhausting, and scary. I am the kind of person who loves to be overly prepared for anything and everything. But in college, you don’t have an instruction book on how to do everything and where everything is located. You have to be adaptable and just go with the flow. At first, I was not fond of the idea of “let's just see what happens,” but I learned and adapted, and ever since then, I have felt like UIW is a second home to me. I realized if I wanted to find where I belong or have people to talk to, I must make the first step. The student center is the first place I felt like I belonged at the University of the Incarnate Word. I've made so many friends and have felt so welcomed and confident. I really feel like I belong when I am at the student center because every person I have a conversation with has been able to relate to or feels the same way I do about college and has been able to give me advice.” – Mia L.

“When I first arrived on campus, I was worried I wasn’t going to fit in since I know this is a private school … I drive an older truck (1999) and I was expecting everyone else to have newer, more expensive cars. I realized I fit in when I parked in the garage the first day and saw that there were other older vehicles like my own!” – Augustina G.

“My first month on campus has been great. I've truly had an amazing time going to all of my classes and engaging with my new classmates. I've found where I belong on campus through my work study job. I am an equipment manager for the football team and that is where I spend most of my time if I'm not in class.” – Marshall M.

“I know I belong on campus...UIW will give me the resources to succeed and knowledge to catapult me into my desired life.” – Sofia L.

“My first month at UIW has been great. Everyone has been nice and extremely welcoming. I know I belong on campus because I am finding friends and they're a lot like me.” – Diego L.